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Full text of "Ancient, curious and famous wills"

CORNELL UNIVEHSTTY LIBRARY 




3 1924 065 509 014 




Cornell University 
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the United States on the use of the text. 



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ANCIENT, CURIOUS AND FAMOUS 
WILLS 



"A truce to jesting; let me have a confessor 
to confess me, and a notary to make my will." 



ANCIENT 

CURIOUS AND FAMOUS 

WILLS 



BY 



VIRGIL M. g^RRIS 

MEHBEB OF THE SAINT LOUIS BAB, LECTUKEB ON WILLS IN THE 

SAINT LOUIS UNIVEBSITT INSTITUTE OF LAW, TBU8T OFFICES 

OF THE MERCANTILE TRUST COMPANY OF SAINT LOUIS, 

MISSOURI, AND AUTHOR OF " THE TRUST COMPANY 

OF TO-DAY," ETC. 



' The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power. 

And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave, 
Await alike the inevitable hour : 
The paths of glory lead but to the grave." 



BOSTON 

LITTLE BROWN, AND COMPANY 

1911 



coptbioht, 1911, 
By Little, Brown, and Compant. 

All rights reserved. 



Printed by C. H. Simonds C& Co. 
Boston, U. S. A. 




TO THE LATE 

HONORABLE JACOB KLEIN 

OF 

SAINT LOUIS, MISSOURI 

WHOSE LONG AND TJSEPUL CAREER AT THE BAR 
-.:*■■ "^ -> 
AND WHOSE STERLING CHASAC(TER,' LEARNING AND WISDOM 

ENTITLE HIS NAME TO A PLACE IN THE GALAXY 

OF GREAT AMERICAN LAWYERS 

THIS BOOK 

IS AFFECTIONATELY INSCRIBED 



PREFACE 

*' Let's choose executors, and talk of wills ; 

And yet not so, — for what can we bequeath. 
Save our deposed bodies to the ground ? " 

An addition to the fifteen millions of books of which the world 
is now possessed demands an explanation, if not an apology. 

In my experience as a lectiurer on the Law of Wills, and in the 
practical administration of estates controlled by wills, in which 
I have been engaged for many years, it has been a subject of siu-- 
prise to me that no one in America has seriously imdertaken the 
collection of curious and famous wills. It has occurred to me that 
I might discharge the duty which every lawyer owes to his profes- 
sion by making such a collection. The subject is very compre- 
hensive, and the material required has been obtained, in most 
instances, from the original records of Probate and Court Registers 
in various parts of the world, by exhaustive research in Ubraries 
at home and abroad, and by reference to magazine and newspaper 
files. 

It has been my effort to select from this collection the wills 
which appeared most interesting and entertaining. I recognize 
quite fully the wisdom of Lord Coke's remark, that 

" WOls, and the construction of them, do more perplex a man 
than any other learning; and to make a certain construction of 
them exceedeth jurispritdentum artem." 

Perplexity has likewise beset me in an attempt to classify the 
wills in this work and place them under convenient and appro- 
priate headings. 

It must not be forgotten that while all men may make wills, 
and should do so, yet all men have not done so. It is a remark- 
able trait in human character that wills are for the most part 
postponed, and that many men of wealth and distinction die 
without them. So great a man as Abraham Lincoln left no will, 
though he had a considerable estate. General Grant also died 
intestate, but his estate was small. It is to be regretted that men 



viii PREFACE 

fail to perform the duty of making their wills, as history and expe- 
rience demonstrate that this neglect has often resulted in a dis- 
astrous train of consequences. 

The subject of Wills is not so prosaic as might be supposed ; 
in fact, there are few subjects of more general interest. Wills 
reflect, as a mirror, the customs and habits of the times when 
written, as well as the characters of the writers. 

Our earthly possessions are, after all, but life-holdings, and the 
grace with which we part with them at the end of life's journey 
shows the heart in its least disguised form. The moment of will- 
writing is a solemn one. The insight we get into the character 
of the testator is genuine and unvarnished. Property does not 
always bring with it comfort and happiness, and those who have 
to deal with wills find that it is frequently as difficult to dispose 
of one's possessions as it is to acquire them. 

In this work, it has been deemed inadvisable to cite many authori- 
ties. The author has experienced too much embarrassment in his 
researches to ask others to follow in his footsteps. The wills found 
in these pages have been conscientiously copied and compared; 
in many cases, they have been obtained in places not easily 
accessible to the average reader. A number of wills set forth 
have been abridged, where found to be too voluminous in their 
entirety ; and, in some instances, parts which were not of general 
interest have been onaitted. 

The wills have not been created by the author, but have been 
taken from trustworthy sources ; some of them have appeared 
in English works, but very few in American publications. 

I desire to acknowledge my obligations for material assistance, 
particularly to the late Hon. Jacob Klein of Saint Louis, Mr. John 
Marshall Gest of Philadelphia, Mr. Daniel Remsen of New York, 
Messrs. Harper & Brothers of New York, the Editors of the 
" Green Bag " of Boston and other legal publications, and to the 
valuable works of Mr. Proffatt, Mr. Tegg, Julia Clara Byrne, 
Mr. Nicholas and Mr. Nichols. 

VIRGIL M. HARRIS. 

Saint Louis, Missoubi, 
March 1, 1911. 



CONTENTS 

PAQB 

Inthoduction xi 

CHAPTER I 

The Impohtance op the Last Will and Testament . 1 

CHAPTER II 

Ancient WiLia 10 

CHAPTER III 
Wilis in Fiction and Poetey 49 

CHAPTER IV 

Curious Wills 73 

1. Relating to Husbands, Wives, and Children . . 73 

2. Relating to Animals 90 

3. Relating to Charity 102 

4. Relating to Burial 122 

5. Miscellaneous 158 

CHAPTER V 

Testamentabt and Kindred Miscellany . . . 203 

CHAPTER VI 

Wills of Famous Foreigners 249 

CHAPTER VII 

Wills of Famous Americans 324 

Index 455 



IX 



INTRODUCTION 

" The Moving Finger writes ; and, having writ, 
Moves on : nor all your Piety nor Wit 
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line, 
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it." 

The history of wills and their study, as reflecting the character 
of the makers, and in throwing, as they do, a strong hght on the 
customs and manners of the times in which they were written, are 
subjects profoundly interesting both to the lawyer and to the lay- 
man. 

Lord Rosebery, in an address on the character of Byron, said : 

"I will go a step further, and affirm that we have something to 
be grateful for even in the weaknesses of men. . . . We grope 
bUndly along the catacombs of the world, we cHmb the dark ladder 
of Ufe, we feel our way to futurity, but we can scarcely see an inch 
around or before us; we stumble and falter and fall, our hands 
and knees are bruised and sore, and we look up for hght and 
guidance. . . . And, at the end, man is reaped — the product, 
not of good alone, but of evil ; not of joy alone, but of sorrow — 
perhaps mellowed and ripened, perhaps stricken and withered and 
sour. How, then, shall we judge any one ?" 

Can we not judge a man by his will ? Does not such an instru- 
ment reflect his character, his nature, and his eccentricities ? A 
writer on the subject of Wills says : 

"So surely as the berry indicates the soundness of the root, the 
flower of the bulb, so does man's last will tell of the goodness or 
foulness of the heart which conceived it. The cankered root sends 
up only a sickly germ, which brings forth no fruit in due season ; 
whilst the wine that maketh glad the heart of man, the oil which 
maketh him a cheerful countenance, and the bread that strengthens 
his heart, have burst from roots which mildew has never marred, 
nor worm fretted." 

Testamentary dispositions of property in some form are of very 
ancient origin ; even in the BibUcal period we find the statement in 
Genesis to the effect that Jacob gave to Joseph a portion above his 



xii INTRODUCTION 

brethren. Solon is said to have introduced wills into Greece, and 
there is good reason to believe that wills were known in Egypt ages 
before they were used in Europe. Charles Dufresne Du Cange, 
a most learned philological writer who died at Paris in 1688, men- 
tions wills written on bark or wood in the seventh century. There 
are historians who gravely and learnedly assert that Adam made 
a will ; that Noah also left one ; and that Job Kkewise made testa- 
mentary disposition of his all. Roman wills were sealed, after 
they had been securely fastened and other precautions taken against 
forgery : the poet Horace explains how wills were drawn and se- 
cured, and Cicero also refers to the same subject. Anglo-Saxon 
wills were made in triplicate, and consigned to separate custodians. 
Tacitus records that wills were not recognized by the ancient 
Germans. In France, at an early date, the clergy were intrusted 
with the duty of looking after wills and the disposition of property 
under them. In England, wills were known before the Con- 
quest, though subsequently, for a time, their use was forbidden 
by law. 

The works of Barnab6 Brisson, published in 1583 at Paris, are 
excellent sources for information on the subject of ancient wills. 
In fact, both in England and in France, authors of the highest 
learning and abiUty have done much for history and literature in 
the matter of collecting wills, ancient and modern. 

Our form of testamentary disposition comes to us from the Ro- 
man law. In the present age,, both in England and in the United 
States, a full and absolute disposition of property is permitted, 
subject to certain conditions, which are hereinafter noticed. 
That this general right to dispose of earthly possessions is exercised 
with many strange vagaries, and for objects showing many eccen- 
tricities, yet withal, in most cases, with much benevolence and 
generosity of nature, the following pages will fully attest. The 
disposition of property by will does not show that the good men 
do is "oft interred with their bones," but rather that the world 
has yet a good conscience in benefactions, and that humanity 
broadens and grows kindlier with the years. It may be observed 
that the mean and hateful traits of human nature are more fre- 
quently shown by heirs and legatees than by testators. It is 
true that the "ruling passion strong in death" shows itself in wills, 
and many testators evince a strong desire to take with them to the 
next world the substance collected in their dusty lives ; but the 
law has placed hindrances, and, as Pope says : 



INTRODUCTION xiii 

" The laws of God as well as of the land 
Forbid a perpetuity to stand." 

There are on file in the office of the Register of Wills in Wash- 
ington City a number of wills of famous Americans; a copy of 
the will of Washington is there, as well as the wills of several other 
presidents ; also, there are to be seen those of many statesmen and 
other eminent persons : likewise, in London, in the Registry of 
Wills, there are on file the original wills of great men, which the 
British nation has jealously guarded; all nations are interested 
in them, and they could not be allowed to perish. Those who 
desire it may in London see the will of the painter Vandyck, of 
Doctor Johnson, of Lord Nelson, of William Pitt, of Edmund 
Burke, of Izaak Walton, of the Duke of Wellington, and, greatest 
of all, that of William Shakespeare. The last, being of unusual 
interest, has been exceptionally treated, and the three foho pages 
of which it consists are placed under an air-tight frame made of 
polished oak and plate glass. The will of the Great Napoleon 
was to be seen for many years at old Doctors' Commons, but it 
was restored to the French nation in compliance with the request 
of the Emperor Louis Napoleon. 

A chapter with the title, "The Importance of the Last Will and 
Testament," containing general suggestions as to the preparation 
of wills, has been introduced into this work, with the belief that it 
may prove useful to some readers; likewise a chapter on "Testa- 
mentary and Kindred Miscellany," which embraces subjects 
closely akin to those under consideration, and which it is hoped 
may not prove uninteresting. 

' The collecting of interesting and unusual wills is by no means 
an easy undertaking: the information as to their location and 
contents, even those of famous men, is surprisingly limited; di- 
gesting and arranging them has been a tedious but interesting task. 
It will be seen by the collection submitted, that all avenues of 
information have been sought and critically examined. If some 
minor errors have crept in, the indulgence of the reader is asked 
for a work largely on original Hues, and one which covers a wide 
field of investigation, research, and comparison. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND 
FAMOUS WILLS 

CHAPTER I 

THE IMPORTANCE OP THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT 

"To put o£f making your Will until the hand of death is upon you evinces either 
cowardice or a shameful neglect of your temporal concerns." 

It has been thought appropriate, within a brief space, to intro- 
duce into this work some general observations on the importance 
and preparation of wills. For that purpose, the following address, 
under the title given this chapter, recently deUvered before the 
Missouri Bankers' Association, has been selected. It wOl be seen 
that the subject-matter is general in character, and this mono- 
graph has been favorably received by the legal profession and the 
legal and financial journals of the United States. 

"No doubt most of my audience will regard my subject a life- 
less, if not a commonplace one. Yet it is of daily and vital impor- 
tance to bankers and business men generally, and it is to be re- 
gretted that there exist so many inaccurate impressions regarding 
wills. 

"The North American Review in a recent editorial said, 'The 
writing of a will is a serious and formal matter, and into one a 
man puts his dehberate and well-reflected intentions. This makes 
a will stupendously revealing, and to read one over is to come very 
close to the spirit of the man who wrote : to know his treasures, 
to understand his feeling toward men, and to measure his fitness for 
adventures among seraphic and angelic beings. The words a 
man desires to have read when he lies dumb, the gifts he leaves, the 
grace with which he gives, all these lay bare the spirit, the heart of 
disposition, as few other things can. For a will is that which is to 
live after one, and it is written knowing that no wound inflicted 
can be remedied, no neglect repaired. How egotism, or miserK- 
ness, or conceit, or self-satisfaction can shine out in a will ! How 
little exalting it is in most cases to read wills, and how often they 

1 



2 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

turn us back to the authoritative statement, that it is easier for a 
camel to pass through the eye of a needle.' 

"The power to dispose of property by a written will in the form 
known to us does not appear in any of the primitive systems of 
law, except in Egypt ; yet testamentary dispositions in some form 
have come down to us from the earhest times. In the year 1902, 
the French government sent out a commission to make archaeo- 
logical investigatipns in Persia. At the city of Susa, they un- 
covered a stone on which was written the laws of Hammurabi, 
who reigned twenty-three hundred years before Christ, or one 
thousand years before Moses received the Ten Commandments 
on Mount Sinai. This code was translated by Professor Robert 
Francis Harper, of the Chicago University, and furnishes one of 
the most remarkable and readable books which has ever come 
into my hands ; it treats of the laws of money, banking, inherit- 
ance, weights and measures, divorce, dower, crimes, and, singularly 
enough, some of its provisions are present-day law. There is, 
however, no mention of wills. 

"In fact, the will, as we know it, is a Roman invention. Free 
liberty of disposition by will is by no means universal at this time. 
Complete freedom in this respect is the exception rather than the 
rule. Homesteads generally, estates of dower and curtesy fre- 
quently, as well as other portions of an estate, are not the subject 
of devise or bequest. 

"There never was a fitter application of Pope's line, 'A httle 
learning is a dangerous thing,' than in the preparation of wills; 
and it is a most astounding fact that men who have lived pru- 
dently, who have been conservative and successful in business, 
who have accumulated large wealth, who have been bufifeted by 
every wave of misfortune, will attempt, by their own hands or 
through incompetent agents, to write their wills. It is always a 
hazardous undertaking, unless the instrument is of the simplest 
character. If one's child is sick, a doctor is called ; if a man's roof 
is defective, a carpenter is sent for; if a horse throws a shoe, the 
animal goes to the blacksmith ; yet, when it comes to the making 
of a will, perhaps the most solemn and consequential act of a man's 
hf e, the testator takes his pen, and frequently without aid or counsel 
does that which experience and our court records fuUy demon- 
strate he is incompetent to do. 

"Mr. Daniel S. Remsen, of New York, an author of high repute 
on the preparation of wiUs, says that fully fifty per cent of wills 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS . 3 

contain some obscurity or omission. With this statement I find 
myself in complete accord. I believe that nearly half the wills 
written are open to attack and a large portion of them fatally 
defective. I have never seen more than a dozen perfectly drawn 
wills, gauged by the standards of perfect clearness, precision and 
legality. 

"As stated by Mr. Remsen, ' A will is an ex-parte document and 
is written from one point of view; it is the expression of the 
wishes of the testator regarding the work of a lifetime ; upon its 
legality depends the future happiness and welfare of the persons 
and objects most dear to the testator ; and whether viewed from a 
property or a family standpoint, it is often the most important 
document a man of large or small means is ever called upon to 
prepare.' 

"How many are there, in this audience of a thousand bankers, 
who can tell me the manner in which, under the laws of descent 
and distribution, is to be divided an estate consisting of five thou- 
sand dollars in cash, and real estate of the value of five thousand 
dollars, the testator leaving a wife and two children ? 

"Unfortunately the idea prevails that a will is a very simple in- 
strument to prepare. Nothing in business hfe can be further from 
the truth ; on the contrary, a will may be, and usually is, the most 
intricate of all legal documents. This is always true where there 
are gifts or devises depending upon contingencies, or where trusts 
are created. A deed or a contract may be changed ; not so with a 
wiU, after the death of the maker. Therefore, foresight in its 
preparation is imperative. 

"There is a well-marked legal distinction between the words, 
heirs, devisees, legatees, distributees, and legal representatives. 
Each of these terms has a clear and well-defined signification. 
One who has the preparation of wills must deal with the law against 
perpetuities. An estate cannot be tied up for a longer period than 
' a hfe or lives in being and twenty-one years thereafter.' This is 
the general law of our country. The law of dower and curtesy is 
by no means simple. The law of vested and contingent remainders 
is a most intricate subject and requires years of legal study to 
comprehend, and cannot be simplified. The creation of life estates 
and trusts demands the most careful inquiry. There are spend- 
thrift provisions which are easier to break than to prepare. The 
statute of uses cuts an important figure in testaments. The pro- 
visions with reference to the powers of executors and trustees are 



4 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

very comprehensive and must be framed wiiJi great care and pre- 
cision. The subject of joint tenants, and tenants by the entirety, 
frequently requires the most profound consideration in the inter- 
pretation of wiUs. 

"I recently saw a decision of one of our highest courts, where a 
testator gave a large sum of money by will to his wife 'to hold, 
possess and enjoy during her natural life'; at her death, the fund 
was to go to a certain college. The widow promptly set about to 
'enjoy ' the fund by spending it ; the court held, and properly, that 
she had a right to do so, and that the college got nothing. The 
will was improperly drawn. Had it been stated that she might 
'enjoy the income,' a different result would have followed. 

"A few months ago I saw a wiU in which an estate of one mil- 
Uon dollars was disposed of : the testator under the will divided the 
estate into ten parts, but overlooked the disposition of one of these 
parts ; the omitted part passed under the general laws of inherit- 
ance, doubtless contrary to the wishes of the testator. 

"There came under my observation not long ago a will drawn in 
Michigan: the testator owned property in Michigan and also in 
Missouri and South Carolina. The will had but two witnesses; 
it was effective in Michigan and Missouri, but in South CaroUna, 
where three witnesses are required, it was inoperative. 

"Within the last few days, I examined the wiU of one of our most 
gifted and eloquent United States senators, now deceased; an 
ample provision for his wife was followed by this clause: 'The 
acceptance by my wife of the provisions for her benefit, contained 
in this will, shall bar aU claim by her for dower in any real estate 
heretofore or hereafter conveyed by me to any one.' This at- 
tempted exclusion of the wife's dower was well-nigh meaningless : 
his intent was to preclude her right of dower in any real estate 
owned by him at the time of his death ; but he said 'conveyed by 
me to any one'; all real estate possessed by him at the time of 
his death was subject to dower and not excluded, because it had 
not been conveyed. 

"A will was lately presented to me where the testator left a large 
estate, — one-third to his wife, one-third to a son, and one-third to a 
grandson ; the wife predeceased the testator. The question arose 
as to what became of the one-third given to the wife. 

"Generally speaking, under a bequest or devise to a 'child, 
grandchild or other relative,' the property passes to the hneal 
descendants of these, in the event the legatee or devisee dies 



Al^CIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 5 

before the testator ; but it is otherwise as to all other persons : as 
to them, the devise or gift lapses ; even the children of stepchildren 
would not take under these conditions. 

"It is said *a will has no brother,' meaning that no two are alike. 
The general rules of construction are too numerous and complex 
for a discussion here. Technical words are presumed to be used in 
their technical sense, unless a clear intention to use them in another 
is apparent from the context. Our courts are always busy in 
an endeavor to ascertain the intentions of testators. The truth is, 
few men write accurately and precisely. The proper use and selec- 
tion of words in the construction of wills is a very grave duty. 

"A general outline of the framework of a will may be stated as 
follows : 

" (a) A will should revoke all former wills ; if this is not done, the 
last will may be taken in connection with others. If the testator 
is unmarried, he should state that fact. His statement does not 
make it true, but it may serve a very excellent purpose in thwart- 
ing the claims of designing persons. 

"(b) There may be a provision for funeral expenses, and sug- 
gestions with regard to a burial place and a monument. 

" (c) A provision for the payment of debts should be made, and 
the executor given full power to pay debts and to sell and convey 
any portion of the estate. 

. " (d) A provision should be made for bequests and legacies to 
relatives and friends, and for charitable purposes. 

"(e) Suitable provisions for the wife and children should be 
made. 

" (/) Adequate provisions should be inserted for trust features ; 
these are operative only after the probate administration is ended, 
unless otherwise directed, and they should be full, definite and clear. 

" (ff) There should be a residuary clause which catches up and 
disposes of any portion of the estate not already disposed of, in- 
cluding lapsed legacies and devises. 

" (h) The executor should be named. 

" (i) The date and signature. 

" (j) Finally, the attestation. 

"To me it is incomprehensible that nine men out of ten who make , 
their wills, seek to hamper and restrain the remarriage of their 
widows ; neither the age of the husband nor of the wife seems to 
deter a testator in this direction : on the other hand, I have never 
seen but one such restriction in the will of a married woman ; and 



6 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

■ this spirit of faith and trust, in a comparative view of the sexes, is, 
I believe, quite as marked in the daily walks of life, notwithstanding 
the Unes of Saxe which run : 

' Men dying make their wills, but wives 
Escape a work so sad ; 
Why should they make what all their lives. 
The gentle dames have had ? ' 

"It may be said that a condition subsequent in general restraint 
of the marriage of a person who has never married, annexed to a 
gift, is contrary to public policy and void. 

"A man should make his will when he is in a normal and healthy 
condition ; it should be done timely and deliberately. A prominent 
legal writer says : 'It is astounding how frequently from indolence, 
procrastination, or superstition, men wiU postpone this needful act 
until the last. Some, like old Euclio in Pope, with the ruling pas- 
sion strong in death, cannot endure the thought of parting with 
their possessions, even post mortem, and die intestate. Few testa- 
tors know their own minds, and a deathbed will is as sorry a sub- 
stitute for a carefully prepared instrument, as a deathbed repent- 
ance is for a well-ordered life.' A sick man or a very aged man, as a 
rule, is not in a condition to judge fairly of the affairs of human Ufe. 
He is apt to be unconsciously influenced and misled, or even 
coerced. He may be diverted from the natural channels of affec- 
tion, right and justice. Frequently the resul t is disastrous litigation, 
the breaking of domestic ties,, and the exposure of family skeletons. 

"Lord Coke said a long time ago, 'Few men, pinched with the 
messengers of death, have a disposing memory.' 'Such a will, 
he adds, 'is sometimes in haste and commonly by slender advice 
and is subject to so many questions in this eagle-eyed world. And 
it is some blemish or touch to a man well esteemed for his wisdom 
and discretion all his life, to leave a troubled estate behind him, 
amongst his wife, children or kindred, after his death.' 

"A man may work out his religion from within and for himself, 
but when it comes to writing a will, the advice of a good, level- 
headed friend cannot be overestimated. 

"The will, unlike other instruments, is usually not open to 
criticism, and in my opinion, the testator will act wisely, who takes 
into his confidence some trusted friend who has good judgment and 
just ideas, whether he be a lawyer or a layman : this would be a 
poor world indeed, if such were not to be found. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 7 

"Statistics show that out of every hundred persons dying in- 
modem times, sixty-five per cent leave no estate at all, and this 
is true in the most prosperous and wealthy portions of the United 
States. Out of the hundred mentioned, about thirty-five leave 
estates, but less than ten per cent leave estates exceeding five 
thousand dollars. 

"Gifts through wills to charitable, educational and kindred 
institutions, in recent years, have been larger than during any other 
period in the history of this country. In the year 1909 the value 
of such gifts exceeded a hundred million dollars, according to the 
best statistics obtainable; yet it is much to be regretted, that 
testators who have been blessed with fortunes, do not leave more 
to charitable and public uses. Very Uttle, if any regret would be 
expressed by beneficiaries under wills, if testators would set aside 
a few hundred or a few thousand dollars for such objects: a 
fountain in one's native town, a scholarship, a hospital, or a park 
or plot of ground where the aged might rest, children play, and 
birds sing. Such gifts show noble natures, and all communities 
are proud to remember and honor the donors. 

"Although the laws of our States differ somewhat in the matter 
of descent and in the rules as to the construction and requirements 
of wills, it may be stated that it is not generally necessary to 
mention or provide for any other persons than children or their 
descendants. 

"The French author, Balzac, regarded by many critics as one 
of the keenest observers of the impulses that actuate human 
life, has one of his characters, a lawyer, say : 'There are in modern 
society three men who can never think well of the world, the priest, 
the doctor and the man of law ; and they wear black robes, perhaps 
because they are in mourning for every virtue and every illusion ; 
the most hapless of these is the lawyer; he sees the same evil 
feelings repeated again and again; nothing can correct them; 
our offices are sewers which can never be cleansed ; I have known 
wills burned ; I have seen mothers robbing their children ; wives 
kill their husbands; I could not tell you all I have seen, for I 
have seen crimes against which justice is impotent. In short, all 
the horrors that romancers suppose they have invented are still 
below the truth.' 

"Whether this conclusion is correct or not, the fact is, that the 
law seals the lips of the priest, the doctor and the lawyer. The 
human heart is never completely revealed ; there is always a nook 



8 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

or a corner that is closed to the world. But the lawyer does know 
human nature ; and, take it all in all, I do not believe there is any 
class of men more outspoken, and who do more in the long run to 
uphold our rights, our morals and our liberties, than lawyers. 
The lawyer will tell you to have your will written and to have it 
well written; he wiU tell you that human nature is strongly 
marked in wills ; he will tell you that his profession knows no more 
comphcated and perplexing a document to prepare than a will; 
he will tell you that wills are frequently destroyed by imauthorized 
hands; he will teU you that when a provision is made by will 
which gives less than that which is allowed by law, that that pro- 
vision will be attacked ; he will tell you that wills are filed in pro- 
bate in nearly every instance before the dust has adjusted itself 
on the grave of the testator ; he will teU you, if candid, that lawyers 
are, in a measure, responsible for poorly written wills, 

"No lawyer should be asked to write a will cheaply or hastily; 
the testator who has no proper appreciation of this service, and 
who drives a bargain for ten dollars, for that which is worth a 
himdred or more, usually gets about what he pays for. 

"In law, as in other professions, ability and experience are essen- 
tial to perfect work ; when you seek a lawyer to write your will, 
see that he has these qualifications. 

"Witnesses to wills should never be interested in the instrument. 
If the testator is aged, the witnesses should be those well acquainted 
with him ; in fact, this is always a good rule, whether the testator 
be old or yoimg; this precaution may prevent much trouble and 
complication, and it has the sanction of our highest courts. 

"There is a class of gifts to which I wish to call your attention, 
and I refer to gifts causa mortis. A gift causa mortis is a gift of 
personal property by a person about to die and in view of death. 
If there is an actual or constructive deUvery of the property, the 
gift is good, notwithstanding the law of wills. The gift, however, 
must be absolute and the giver must die of that sickness. 

" In making provision for children in wills, the corpus or principal 
fund is not infrequently to be turned over to them on arriving at 
legal age. According to my observation, the age of thirty is much 
preferable. It is not possible for any young man or woman at the 
end of minority to be possessed of much wisdom with reference 
to the care of property. Worldly knowledge is not congenital, 
and we have high authority that 'in youth and beauty, wisdom is 
but rare.' 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 9 

"Even you and I, my friends, have picked up some business 
knowledge since we passed the line of twenty-one. 

"I cannot too highly recommend trust provisions in wills, 
where it is sought to make allowances to children or others ; the 
use of the income for a time or for life, instead of an absolute gift of 
the principal, has in many cases a most beneficial result. In the 
selection of an executor, my judgment is that it is better to have 
one than two, and unless that one is a corporation of high standing 
and ample capital, I would always require a bond. This works no 
hardship, for bonds are readily obtainable by reputable persons. 

"A codicil is a supplemental will. Its object may be to explain, 
modify, add to or take from a will. It should be written with 
care and precision and its execution is attended with the same for- 
malities as the will itself. 

"A well-known author on wiUs says : 

"'In short, a wiU may be a man's monument or his folly. Pru- 
dence, therefore, demands that the testator plan wisely, and frame 
his testamentary provisions with great care. That is, he should, 
if possible, use such words that his plan shall not be misunder- 
stood and shall be carried into effect without dispute or Utigation, 
for unlike instruments between living persons, it is only after the 
testator is dead and cannot explain his meaning that his will can 
take effect, or be open to dispute.' 

"I recommend that of each will there be made a copy ; the origi- 
nal should be placed in one safe place, and the copy in another. 
This very much lessens the chance of its being destroyed or faUing 
into bad hands." 



CHAPTER II 

ANCIENT WILLS 

"Far we brought nothing into the world, and it is certain we can carry nothing 

out." 

Will of Adam 

The Mussulman claims that our forefather, Adam, left a will, 
and that seventy legions of angels brought him sheets of paper and 
quill pens, nicely nibbed, all the way from Paradise, and that the 
Archangel Gabriel set his seal as a witness. 

It may be added, however, that the authenticity of this will has 
not been established. 

Will of Noah 

It is claimed that Noah left a will, but of course this is an apoc- 
rypha. It is said that he divided his landed possessions, the globe, 
into three shares, one for each son. America was not included in 
this division for obvious reasons. 

Will of Job 

There exists a very curious and ancient testament of Job, which 
was discovered and published by Cardinal Mai in 1839 ; it relates 
many details which we may look for in vain in the Canonical Book. 
In it Job's faithful wife, when reduced to the utmost poverty, sold 
the hair of her head to procure bread for her husband. 

Will of Jacob 

Jacob, the third of the Hebrew Patriarchs, died in Egypt at the 
age of 147, but was buried by his sons in the Cave of Machpelah at 
Hebron, in Palestine, the traditional burial place of the Prophets 
and other Biblical characters of their time. 

It can be stated that the very earliest reference to an actual testa- 
mentary disposition is by the words of this Patriarch : 

"And Israel said unto Joseph, Behold, I die ; but God shall be 
with you and bring you again unto the land of your fathers." 

10 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 11 

" Moreover, I have given to thee one portion above thy brethren, 
which I took out of the hand of the Amorite with my sword and 
with my bow." 

"And Jacob called unto his sons, and said. Gather yourselves 
together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last 
days." 

In the 48th and 49th chapters of Genesis are these words of the 
dying Patriarch ; and here is found not only the disposition of a 
"portion" to Joseph, but the character of each son is shown, the 
virtue or fault of each is described, to each a symbolic emblem is 
assigned, and to each a future is prophesied. 

Here is a will, in fact, and in prophecy. 

Will of TELEMACHtrs 

Homer cites this will, made in favor of Piraeus, to whom 
Telemachus bequeaths all the presents that had been made to 
him by Menelaus, lest they fall into the hands of his enemies; 
but he adds, "In case I should slay them and survive, you are 
then to restore them to me in my palace, a task as joyous to you 
to accomplish as to myself to profit by." Perhaps, however, this 
may be objected to as proceeding from fabulous history. In 
Biblical tradition, however, we find very early evidence of oral 
bequests. 

Will of Eudamidas 

To Lucian we are indebted for the noble, touching, and certainly 
eccentric will of Eudamidas of Corinth. 

This philosophical individual, who was extremely poor, was on 
terms of close and intimate friendship — friendship in the full and 
true acceptation of the term — with Arethaeus and Charixenes of 
Sycion. Finding himself on his deathbed, he made a will, which, 
while exciting only the ridicule of the thoughtless or the worldly- 
wise, calls for respect and admiration in the breasts of those who 
know the value of real cordiality, and can appreciate his simple con- 
fidence in its sincerity. 

"I bequeath to Arethseus my mother to support; and I pray 
him to have a tender care of her declining years. 

"I bequeath to Charixenes my daughter to marry, and to give 
her to that end the best portion he can afford. 

"Should either happen to die I beg the other to undertake both 
charges." 



12 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

When this will, contiaues the narrator, was read in the public 
square (this being the accepted mode of proceeding at that time), 
all those who were aware of the poor circumstances of the testator, 
but were incapable of recognizing the ties which linked him to his 
friends, turned these unusual clauses into a joke; and there was 
not one who did not go away laughing and observing : " Arethseus 
and Charixenes will be lucky fellows if they accept their legacies, 
and he's no fool to have made himself their heir, though he be 
dead and they living." 

But these honest legatees no sooner learned what was expected 
of them by their deceased friend than they hastened to put his 
wishes into execution. 

Charixenes, however, only survived Eudamidas five days; and 
then Arethaeus, acting in exact conformity with the will he had 
undertaken to execute, assumed the share bequeathed to his co- 
executor. He supported the mother of Eudamidas; and in due 
time found a suitable husband for his daughter. Of five talents of 
which his fortune consisted, he gave her two, and two others to his 
own daughter, and celebrated the two marriages on the same day. 

The Oldest Written Will 

William Matthew Flinders Petrie, the famous English Egyptol- 
ogist, unearthed not many years ago at Kahun a will which was 
forty-five hundred years old ; there seems no reason to question 
either the authenticity or antiquity of the document. The will 
therefore antedates all other known written wills by nearly two 
thousand years. That excellent authority, the Irish Law Times, 
speaks of the will so entertainingly that its comments are here 
reproduced : 

"The document is so curiously modern in form that it might 
almost be granted probate to-day. But, in any case, it may be as- 
sumed that it marks one of the earliest epochs of legal history, and 
curiously illustrates the continuity of legal methods. The value, 
socially, legally and historically, of a will that dates back to pa- 
triarchal times is evident. 

" It consists of a settlement made by one Sekhenren in the year 
44, second month of Pert, day 19, —that is, it is estimated, the 44th 
of Amenemhat III., or 2550 b.c, in favor of his brother, a priest of 
Osiris, of all his property and goods ; and of another document, 
which bears date from the time of Amenemhat IV., or 2548 B.C. 
This latter instrument is, in form, nothing more nor less than a will, 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 13 

by which, in phraseology that might well be used to-day, the testa- 
tor settles upon his wife, Teta, all the property given him by his 
brother, for life, but forbids in categorical terms to pull down the 
houses 'which my brother built for me,' although it empowers 
her to give them to any of her children that she pleases. A 'lieu- 
tenant ' Siou is to act as guardian of the infant children. 

"This remarkable instrument is witnessed by two scribes, with an 
attestation clause that might almost have been drafted yesterday. 
The papyrus is a valuable contribution to the study of ancient law, 
and shows, with a graphic realism, what a pitch of civilization the 
ancient Egyptians had reached, — at least from a lawyer's point 
of view. It has hitherto been believed that, in the infancy of the 
human race, wills were practically unknown. There probably 
never was a time when testaments, in some form or other, did not 
exist ; but, in the earliest ages, it has so far been assumed that they 
were never written, but were nuncupatory, or delivered orally, 
probably at the deathbed of the testator. Among the Hindus to 
this day the law of succession hinges upon the due solemnization of 
fixed ceremonies at the dead man's funeral, not upon any written will. 
And it is because early wills were verbal only that their history is so 
obscure. It has been asserted that among the barbarian races the 
bare conception of a will was unknown ; that we must search for 
the infancy of testamentary dispositions in the early Roman law. 
Indeed, until the ecclesiastical power assumed the prerogative of 
intervening at every break in the succession of the family, wills did 
not come into vogue in the West. But Mr. Petrie's papyrus seems 
to show that the system of settlement or disposition by deed or will 
was long antecedently practised in the East." 

Will of Sennacherib 
(681 B.C.) 

The will of the Assyrian monarch is the next earliest written will 
which can be cited. It was found in the royal library of Konyunjik, 
where we read that to his favorite son, Esarhaddon, not being 
yet heir-presumptive, he bequeaths "certain bracelets, coronets, 
and other precious' objects of gold, ivory, and precious stones, 
. deposited for safe-keeping in the temple of Nebo." 

Sennacherib was assassinated in the year 681 B.C. by two of his 
sons ; he was succeeded by Esarhaddon. 



14 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

The Will of Plato 
(348 B.C.) 

We give this will, handed down to us by Diogenes Laertius, being 
of interest, not from anything it contains, but curious, whether 
from its antiquity or as an illustration of the very simple form em- 
ployed by the Greeks three hundred and fifty years before the 
Christian era. Of its intrinsic value as coming from the mind and 
the hand of Plato we need say nothing. 

"These things hath Plato left and bequeathed : The farm of 
Hephsestiades bounded, etc. It is forbidden to sell or alienate it; 
but it shall belong to my son Adimantes, who shall enjoy the sole 
proprietorship thereof. I give him likewise the farm of Hereu- 
siades, situated, etc. It is the one I acquired by purchase. 

"Further, I give to my son Adimantes, three mines in cash, a sil- 
ver vase weighing one hundred and sixty-five drachmae, a cup of the 
same metal weighing sixty-five, a ring and pendant in gold weighing 
together four drachmae, with three mines due to me from Euclid 
the gem-engraver. 

"I free from slavery, Diana ; but for Tychon, Bietas, Dionysius, 
and ApoUoniades, I will they continue the slaves of my son Adi- 
mantes, to whom I bequeath also all my chattels as specified in an 
inventory held and possessed by Demetrius. 

"I have no debts ; and I appoint as executors and administrators 
of these bequests Speusippus, Demetrius, Hegias, Eurymedon, Cal- 
limachus, and Thrasippus." 

Such is the will of the grand old philosopher; and we may 
suppose that by those simpler minds, even the date was considered 
unnecessary, as we find none appended to this document. 

Will of Aristotle 

(322 B.C.) 

The will of this famous Peripatetic philosopher is like that of 
Plato, more remarkable for its antiquity and the interest attaching 
to the testator than for its contents. He was sixty-eight years of 
age at the time of his death, and according to his biographer, 
Timotheus of Athens, he cannot have been very attractive in his 
personal appearance. He had small eyes, a cracked voice, and thin 
limbs; but he was always well dressed and wore rings on his 
fingers ; we are also told that he shaved his chin. The document 
in question begins thus : 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 15 

"Greeting. Aristotle disposes as follows of what belongs to him. 
In case death should surprise me, Antipater will undertake to exe- 
cute generally my last wishes and is to have the administration of 
everything. 

"Until Nicanor can take the management of my affairs, Aristo- 
menes, Timarchas, Hipparchus, and Theophrastus will, with his 
consent, assist him to take care of my property, as much on behalf 
of my children, as on behalf of Herpylis. As soon as my daughter 
shall be marriageable she is to be given Nicanor; and in case, 
which I do not think likely, she should die before her marriage or 
before she has children, Nicanor is to inherit all that I possess, and 
to dispose of my slaves and all the rest as he pleases. 

"Nicanor will then take charge of my son Nicomachus, and of 
my daughter, so that they may want nothing; and he will act 
towards them as a father and a brother. 

"Should Nicanor die before marrying my daughter, or having 
married her should he leave no children, he must decide what is to 
be done after his death. 

"If, then, Theophrastus should wish to take my daughter to his 
home, he will enter into all the rights I give to Nicanor ; or if not, 
the curators will dispose of my children as they shall consider for 
the best. 

"I recommend to their guardians, and to Nicanor,. to remember 
for my sake the affection Herpylis has always borne me, taking care 
of me and of my affairs. If after my death she should wish to 
marry, they will see that she does not marry any one below my 
condition. In that case, besides the presents she has already re- 
ceived, she is to have a talent of silver, three slaves besides the one 
she has, and the youth Pyrrhaeus. If she wishes to live at Calchis, 
she can have the suite of rooms communicating with the garden; 
if at Stagyra, she can occupy the house of my fathers, and the cura- 
tors will suitably furnish whichever of these residences she may 
select. 

"Nicanor will take care that Myrex is sent back to his parents in 
a respectable and suitable way, with all that I have belonging to 
him. 

"I give Ambracis her liberty, and assign to her, as a marriage 
portion, 500 drachmae or five mines and a slave. 

"I bequeath to Thala, besides the bought slave she has, a young 
female slave and 1000 drachmae. 

"As regards Simo, besides the money already given him to buy 



16 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

another slave, let one more be bought for him or let him have the 
value in money. 

"Tacho is to have his freedom when my daughter marries. 
Philo, and Olympias with his son, shall also be made free at the 
same period. The children of my slaves shall pass into the service 
of my heirs, and, when they become adults, they shall be freed if 
they have deserved it. 

"Let the statues I have ordered be finished and placed as I have 
instructed Gryllo, viz. those of Nicanor, Proxenes, and the mother 
of Nicanor ; also that of Arimnestes to serve as a monimient for him 
as he left no children. 

"Also let the Ceres, belonging to my mother, be placed in the 
Nemea. Let the bones of my wife, Pythias, be placed in my tomb, 
even as she desired. I further wish the four stone animals, prom- 
ised by me as votive ofiferings for the preservation of Nicanor, to be 
placed at Stagyra to Jupiter and Minerva. They are to be four 
cubits high." 

Will of Virgil 

(10 B.C.) 

A singular trait in the character of this great poet was that which 
appeared by the clause in' his will which ordered the iEneid to 
be burnt: "Ut rem emendatam imperfectamque." Tucca and 
Varus, however, his executors and friends, and, we may add also, 
the friends of Kterature and of the civihzed world, assured him 
Augustus would never consent to this barbarous behest. On this 
he bequeathed to them his Mss., but on the express condition that 
if he should die before he had time to revise and finish them, and 
they should think proper to publish them, they should change 
nothing and should leave the imperfect and incomplete verses just 
as they were. 

He ordered his body to be "carried to Naples, and there interred 
near the road to Puzzuoh, by the second milestone." The epitaph 
which was engraved on it was written by himself : 

Mantua me genuit, Calabri rapuere, tenet nunc 
Parthenope : cecini pascua, rura, duces. 

He divided his property, which was considerable, between Valerius 
Proculus, his half-brother, to whom he left half; Augustus, to 
whom he gave a quarter; Mecaenas, who got a twelfth; and the 
rest to Varus. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 17 

Will of Augustus 

(13 A.D.) 

Augustus Caesar made his will under the consulate of Silius and 
Plancus in the year a.d. 13, and one year and four months before 
his death. 

It is much to be regretted that this important and interesting 
document should not have reached our times in its entirety ; never- 
theless, by collating the passages relating to it by several historians, 
we arrive at a considerable portion of it. 

When Augustus had made his will, he deposited it, according to 
custom and the example of his uncle Julius Caesar, in the sacred 
Temple of Vesta, under the care of the most ancient of the priest- 
esses. The act was in two parts, and was written, partly by his 
own hand and partly under dictation to his two freedmen, Polyb- 
ius and Hilarion. It was accompanied by four other portions 
sealed with the same seal. 

As soon as Augustus was dead, Tiberius commanded that the 
first day of the meeting of the Senate should be consecrated to his 
memory ; whereon the Vestals solemnly brought the will and the 
four appendices belonging to it, which were opened, and they then 
proceeded to the verification of the will ; then Polybius, the freed- 
man before mentioned, was charged to read it aloud. 

The first hues were thus conceived : 

"Since Heaven has taken from me my two grandchildren, 
Caius and Lucilius, I declare Tiberius my successor, and I transmit 
to him all my rights. . . ." 

He then passes to the disposal of his goods ; he appoints as his 
heirs the above-named Tiberius and Livia, the former to receive 
two-thirds, the latter one-third ; he then desires they should bear 
his name, or rather, as says Tacitus, he desires Livia to assume the 
title of Augusta. 

In case of the death of Tiberius and Livia he replaces them by 
appointing one-third to Drusus, son of Tiberius, and the rest to 
Germanicus and his three sons. 

In short, he substitutes to these, as a third arrangement, his 
relatives ; that is to say, his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, 
and they defaulting, his friends, amicos complures. 

He leaves "to the Roman people," quadringentos sestertium. 

Item : to the Latin tribes, tricies quinquies sestertium. 



18 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Item : to the soldiers of his body-guards, per head, i.e. to each 
pretorian soldier, millia nummorum. 

Item: to those of the municipal guard, the urban cohorts, 
quingenos nummos. 

Item : to the soldiers of the legion, trecentos nummos. 

But he orders all these military legacies to be paid at once, hav- 
ing taken the precaution to put by the sums required for this 
object. 

As to the other legacies to different private individuals, and of 
which the majority of the amounts exceeded twenty sesterces, he 
allows a period of a year after his death for the payment of them, 
and he excuses himself for their smallness on the plea of the mod- 
erate amount of his fortune. 

"I leave, in all, to my heirs, no more than one hundred and fifty 
million sesterces, although I have received by testamentary dona- 
tions more than five milliards of sesterces, but I have employed the 
whole of this in the service of the State, as well as my two pa- 
ternal patrimonies (that of Cains Octavius, his own father, and 
that of Julius Csesar, his adoptive father), and my other family 
inheritances." 

By another clause of his testament Augustus leaves a small 
legacy to his daughter Juha, but he does not recall her from exile ; 
he even forbids that her ashes, and those of the second Julia, his 
granddaughter, as debauched as her mother, should be placed in 
the tomb of the Ca;sars. 

Augustus also ordered that if there were any children Kving of 
those who had left him their money, such money should be restored 
to those children, but only on their attaining their majority, and 
together with the arrears of revenue ; and he was accustomed to 
say that a father of a family only deprived his children of the in- 
heritance they were entitled to when the prince was a tyrant. 

When the Senate had verified and confirmed this will by a 
senatus consultum, they presented to the conscript-fathers the four 
rolls above mentioned ; they were partly written by the emperor's 
own hand. It was Drusus who made the Senate acquainted with 
their contents. 

In the first, Augustus prescribed the order that was to be ob- 
served at his interment. 

The second was a journal of his most memorable actions, des- 
tined to be engraved on bronze and placed on the facade of his 
mausoleum. An ancient marble, found in the excavations of the 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 19 

city of Ancyra in the sixteenth century, has preserved to us a por- 
tion of this journal ; and this monument, mutilated as it is, becomes 
precious from the certainty it gives us as to the dates of certain 
events in the history of Augustus. 

The third contained a statement of the forces of the empire, 
of the troops then constituting the standing army, of the sums con- 
tained in the public treasury and in that of the emperor, of the 
tributes and imposts still due, and of the expenses required in times 
of peace and in times of war. 

The fourth was a collection of instructions, addressed equally 
to Tiberius and to the republic, to maintain both the splendor 
and the tranquillity of the empire. Among other counsels he ad- 
vised them to choose only wise, discreet, and virtuous men for the 
administration of every department of the state ; he added at the 
same time that it was dangerous to confide to any single individual 
the entire authority, for then it might be feared that the power of the 
monarch might degenerate into tyranny, and that its ruin might in- 
volve that of the state and precipitate the Romans into irretriev- 
able misfortunes. He recommended, above all, to those who 
should follow him in the cares of the government, not to preoccupy 
themselves about extending the limits of the empire by new con- 
quests, but rather to apply themselves to the maintenance and good 
government of what they already held. 

The remainder of these councils was simply the summary of the 
policy he had himself pursued during his reign. 

These books as well as his will were approved and indorsed by 
the Senate. They then decreed him a costly and magnificent fu-: 
neral ; his corpse, or rather its image in wax, was laid upon an ivory 
bed, incrusted with massive gold and draped with a tissue of purple 
silk woven with gold ; the procession, of the same extent as a tri- 
umphal progress, traversed the streets of Rome with great pomp. 
It halted twice ; on the first occasion Drusus pronounced the fu- 
neral oration over the body ; on the second Tiberius spoke another, 
which has been preserved, and may be considered a model of 
eloquence. 

When the procession arrived at the Campus Martius the body 
was enclosed in a bier, and placed on a funeral pile to which the 
centurions set fire; while the clouds of smoke and fiame were 
ascending to the sky an eagle suddenly appeared in the midst of 
them and took its flight to heaven, in the midst of the acclama- 
tions of the assembled people, who declared that the bird sacred to 



20 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Jupiter was carrying the emperor's soul aloft to the bosom of the 
king of the gods. 

Will of a Pig 

This is a very ancient document. Mr. S. Baring-Gould in his 
unique work "Curiosities of Olden Times," says of it : 

"S. Jerome speaks of it, saying, that in his time (fourth century) 
children were wont to sing it at school amidst shouts of laughter. 
Alexander Brassicanus, who died in 1539, was the first to publish 
it. He found it in a Ms. at Mayence. Later, G. Fabricius gave 
a corrected edition of it from another Ms. found at Memel and 
•since then it has been in the hands of the learned." 

With slight modifications, the will runs as follows : 

"I, M. Grunnius Corcotta Porcellus, have made my testament, 
which, as I can't write myself, I have dictated." 

Says Magirus, the cook: "Come along, thou who turnest the 
house topsy-turvy, spoiler of the pavement, O fugitive Porcellus ! 
I am resolved to slaughter thee to-day." 

Says Corcotta Porcellus : "If ever I have done thee any wrong, 
if I have sinned in any way, if I have smashed any wee pots with 
my feet, O Master Cook, grant pardon to thy suppliant ! " 

Says the cook Magirus : "Halloo, boy ! go bring me a carving- 
knife out of the kitchen, that I may make a bloody Porcellus of 
him." 

Porcellus is caught by the servants, and brought out to execution 
on the xvi before the Lucemine Kalends, just when young colewort 
sprouts are in plenty, Clybaratus and Piperatus being Consuls. 

Now when he saw that he was about to die, he begged hard of 
the cook an hour's grace, just to write his will. He called together 
his relations, that he might leave them some of his victuals ; and 
he said : 

" I will and bequeath to my papa, Verrinus Lardinus, 30 bush, of 
acorns. 

" I will and bequeath to my mamma, Veturina Scrofa, 40 bush, of 
Laconian com. 

" I will and bequeath to my sister, Quirona, at whose nuptials 
I may not be present, 30 bush, of barley. 

" Of my mortal remains, I will and bequeath my bristles to the 
cobblers, my teeth to squabblers, my ears to the deaf, my tongue to 
lawyers and chatterboxes, my entrails to tripemen, my hams to 
gluttons, my stomach to little boys, my tail to little girls, my 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 21 

muscles to eflfeminate parties, my heels to rmmers and himters, 
my claws to thieves ; and, to a certain cook, whom I won't mention 
by name, I bequeath the cord and stick which I brought with me 
from my oak grove to the sty, in hopes that he may take the cord 
and hang himself with it. 

" I will that a monument be erected to me, inscribed with this, in 
golden letters : 

" M. Grunnius Cobcotta PoRCEi«Ltrs, who lived 999 years, — 
six months more, and he would have been 1000 years old. 

" Friends dear to me whilst I lived, I pray you to have a kindness 
towards my body, and embalm it weU with good condiments, such 
as almonds, pepper and honey, that my name may be named 
through ages to come. 

" O my masters and my comrades, who have assisted at the draw- 
ing up of this testament, order it to be signed. 

(Signed) Lttcanicus. Celsanus. 
Pekgilltjs. Lardio. 
Mystialicus. Offellictts. 
Ctmatus." 

Wills of the Earl of Mellent and Others 
(1118) 

Robert, the famous Earl of Mellent and Leicester, one of the 
early crusaders in the Holy Land, died in 1118, in the abbey of 
Preaux, where his body was buried ; but his heart, by his own order, 
was conveyed to the hospital at Brackley, to be there pre- 
served in salt. Isabella, daughter of WiUiam E. Marshall, Earl 
of Pembroke, who died at Berkhampstead in 1239, ordered her 
heart to be sent in a silver cup to her brother, then Abbot of 
Tewkesbury, to be there bmried before the high altar. The heart 
of John Baliol, Lord of Barnard Castle, who died in 1269, was, by 
his widow's desire, enclosed in an ivory casket, richly enamelled 
with silver. There are many bequests of hearts on record other 
than the above. 

Will of Saladin 
(1193) 

Interesting to record is the last will and testament of the cele- 
brated Saladin, bom in 1136 ; he died in 1193, after filling the two 
continents of Europe and Asia with his fame. 



22 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Sultan of Egypt, he conquered Syria, Arabia, Persia, Mesopo- 
tamia, and took possession of Jerusalem in 1187. His conquests 
suflBce to enable us to judge of the extent of his power and wealth ; 
at his death, however, he showed that no one was more intimately 
convinced of the utter hoUowness of the riches and greatness of the 
world and the vanity of its disputes. 

He ordered, by his will, first, that considerable sums should be 
distributed to Mussulmans, Jews, and Christians, in order that the 
priests of the three religions might implore the mercy of God for 
him; next he commanded that the shirt or tunic he should be 
wearing at the time of his death should be carried on the end of a 
spear throughout the whole camp, and at the head of his army, and 
that the soldier who bore it should pause at intervals and say aloud, 
"Behold all that remains of the Emperor Saladin ! Of all the 
states he had conquered; of all the provinces he had subdued; 
of the boundless treasures he had amassed ; of the countless wealth 
he possessed, he retained in dying, nothing but this shroud ! " 
To this we may add : 

"... Behold his origin and end ! 
Milk and a swathe at first, his whole demand ; 
His whole domain, at last, a turf or stone. 
To whom, between, a world had seemed too small." 

Will of William de Beatjchamp 

(1268) 

" Will of William de Beauchamp, dated at Wauberge, upon the 
morrow after the Epiphany, anno 1268, 53 Henry III. My body 
to be buried in the Church of the Friars-Minors at Worcester. I 
Will that a horse, completely harnessed with all military capari- 
sons, precede my corpse; to a priest to sing mass daily in my 
Chapel without the city of Worcester, near unto that house of 
Friars which I gave fpr the health of my soul, and for the souls 
of Isabel my wife, Isabel de Mortimer, and all the faithful 
deceased, all my rent of the fee of Richard Bruli, in Wiche and 
Winchester, with supply of what should be too short out of my 
own proper goods ; to Walter, my son, signed with the cross, for 
a pilgrimage to the Holy Land on my behalf and of Isabel, his 
mother, two hundred marks ; to Joane, my daughter, a canopy, 
some time belonging to St. Wolstan, and a book of Lancelot, 
which I have lent them ; to Isabel, my daughter, a silver cup ; to 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 23 

Sibill, my daughter, all the money due to me from my sou 
William, towards her marriage, and XL marks more, with the 
land which I bought in Britlamton, to enjoy it until she be 
married, and no longer; to Sarah, my daughter, one hundred 
marks for her marriage ; to William, my eldest son, the cup and 
horns of St. Hugh; to my daughter the Countess, his wife, a 
ring with a ruby in it ; to Sir Roger de Mortimer and Sir Bartholo- 
mew de Suley a ring each; to the Friars-Minors of Worcester 
forty shillings; to the Friars-Minors of Gloucester one mark; 
to the Friars-Carmelites there one mark; to the Hospital of St. 
Wolstan at Worcester one mark ; to the Hospital of St. Oswald 
there ten shillings ; to the Canons of Doddeford one mark ; to the 
Church and Nuns of Cokehill x marks ; to Isabel, my wife, ten 
marks ; to the Church and Nuns of Westwood one mark ; to the 
Church and Nuns without Worcester one mark ; to every Ancho- 
rite in Worcester and the parts adjacent four shillings; to the 
Church of Salewarp, a house and garden near the parsonage, to 
find a lamp to burn continually therein to the honor of God, the 
Blessed Virgin, St. Katherine, and Saint Margaret ; and I appoint 
my eldest son William Earl of Warwick, Sir Roger Mortimer, Sir 
Bartholomew de Sudley, and the Abbots of Evesham and of Great 
Malverne, my executors." 

Will of Willlvm de Beattchamp, Eabl of Wakwick 

(1296) 

"Will of William De Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, dated Holy 
Rood Day, 1296, 25 Edward I. being in perfect health. My body 
to be buried in the quire of the Friars-Minors, commonly called the 
Gray-friars at Worcester, if I die within the compass of the four 
English Seas ; otherwise, then in the house of the Friars-Minors 
nearest to the place in which I may happen to die, and my heart 
to be buried wheresoever the Countess, my dear consort, may her- 
self resolve to be interred ; to the place where I may be buried 
two great horses, viz., those to the which shall carry my armour 
at my funeral, for the solemnizing of which I bequeath two hun- 
dred pounds ; to the maintenance of two soldiers in the Holy Land, 
one hundred pounds ; to Maud my wife, all my silver vessels, with 
the cross, wherein is contained part of the wood of the very cross 
wh ereon our Saviour died ; likewise the vestments of my Chapel, 
to make use of during her life; but afterwards the best suit to 



24 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

belong to Guy, my eldest son; the second best to my Chapel of 
Hanslape ; and the third best to my Chapel at Hanley ; to Guy, 
my son, a gold ring with a ruby in it, together with my blesing ; 
to my said wife a cup, which the Bishop of Worcester gave me, 
and all my other cups, with my lesser sort of jewels and rings, to 
distribute for the health of my soul, where she may think best; 
to my two daughters, nuns at Shouldham, fifty marks." 

Will of Edward I 
(1307) 

Thi§ will seems entitled to find a place among those which may 
be regarded as abnormal, and when we come to the record of it 
in the simple and naif style of that matchless old chronicler Frois- 
sard, we are irresistibly tempted to make a transcript of the few 
lines which in describing it carry us back to the days of that tur- 
bulent and brilliant monarch. 

"Le bon roy," he writes, "trepassa en la cite de Warvich. Et 
quend il mourut il fit appeler son aisne fils (Edouard II. qui apres 
luy fust roy) pardeuant ses barons, et luy fit iurer sur les saincts, 
qu'aussitost qu'il seroit trespasse il le feroit bouilleir dans une 
chaudiere, tant que la chair se departiroit des os : et apres ferait 
mettre la chair en terre et garderoit les os : et toutes les f ois que 
les EscoQois de rebelleroient contre luy, il semondroit ses gens et 
porteroit avesques luy les os de son pere. Car il tenoit fermement 
que tant qu'il auroit ses os avesques luy les Escogois n'auraient 
poinct de victoire contre luy. Lequel n'accomplit mie ce qu'il 
auait iure: ains fit rapporter son p^re ^ Londres et la enseuelir; 
dout luy meschent." 

Will of Gut de Beauchamp, Eabl of Warwick 

(1315) 

" Will of Guy de Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, dated at War- 
wick Castle, Monday next after the Feast of St. James the Apostle, 
1315. My body to be buried in the Abbey of Bordsley, without 
any funeral pomp ; to Alice, my wife, a proportion of plate, with a 
crystal cup and half my bedding, and also all the vestments and 
books belonging to my Chapel ; the other half of my beds, rings, 
and jewels, I bequeath to my two daughters; to Maud, my 
daughter, a crystal cup ; to Elizabeth, my daughter, the marriage 
of Astley's heir ; to Thomas, my son, my best coat of mail, helmet. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 25 

and suit of harness, with all that belongs thereto ; to John, my son, 
my second coat of mail, helmet, and harness ; and I Will that all 
the rest of my armour, bows, and other warlike implements, shall 
remain in Warwick Castle for my heir." 

Dukes of Lancaster 

(1360) 

Henry, Duke of Lancaster, who died in 1360, thus begins the 
second clause of his will: "Item: we will that our body be not 
buried for three weeks after the departure of our soul." 

(1399) 

John, Duke of Lancaster, better known as John of Gaunt, 
directs as follows in his will : "If I die out of London I desire that, 
the night my body arrives there, it be carried direct to the Friars 
Carmelites, in Fleet Street, and the next day be taken straight to 
St. Paul's, and that it he not buried for forty days, during which I 
charge my executors that there be no embalming of my corpse." 

Will of Sir Robert Laundb 

(1367) 

" Will of Sir Robert Launde, alias Atte Launde, Knt., Citizen of 
London, on our Lady's Eve, 1367. My body to be buried in the 
quire of St. Mary's, of the Charterhouse in London ; to Christian, 
my wife ; to Ada Launde, my mother ; to Robert Watfield, late my 
servant, c Z. ; to Rose Pomfret, my sister, of Berdfield, CXL I. ; to 
Richard, her son, and William, her brother ; to Margaret Biernes, 
their sister ; to Margaret, her sister, married to Aksted ; to Agnes, 
my niece, at Hallewell ; to the high altar of Hempsted, in Essex ; 
to the poor there, by gift of Robert Watfield; to Joane Launde, 
of Cambridgeshire ; to my noble Lady the Coimtess of Norfolk ; 
to John Southcot, to find him at school ; to the building of the cross 
in Cheapside ; and I appoint Sir John Philpot, Knt., overseer of 
this my Will." 

Will of Lady Joan De Cobham 

(1369) 

" Will of Joan De Cobham, of Starburghe. August 13, 1369. 
My body to be buried in the church-yard of St. Mary Overhere, 
in Southwark, before the church door, where the image of the 



26 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

blessed Virgin sitteth on high over that door : and I Will that a 
plain marble stone be laid over my body. 

" I Will that VII thousand masses be said for my soul by the 
Canons of Tunbrugge and Tanfugge, and the four Orders of Friars 
in London, viz., the Friars-Preachers, Minors, Augustines, and 
Carmelites, who for so doing shall have xxix I. iii s. iv d. Also 
I Will that on my funeral day twelve poor persons, clothed in 
black gowns and hoods, shall carry twelve torches ; I bequeath to 
the Church of Lyngefeld a frontore with the arms of Berkeley 
and Cobham standing on white and purple ; to Reginald, my son, 
a ring with a diamond; to Sir Henry Grey and Dame Joan, his 
wife, and to that Joane my daughter ; to Joane, daughter to that 
Joane. I Will that my house in Southwark be sold to pay my 
Lord's debts, and to found prayers in the parish church of Langele- 
Borell for the souls of Sir John de la Mare, Knt., some time lord 
there. Sir Reginald Cobham, Sir Thomas Berkeley, and for the 
souls of my benefactors. If Reginald, my son, or any other of my 
heirs, shall appropriate that church for the maintenance of two 
priests to celebrate divine service there for ever, as it was in- 
tended and conditioned by the said Sir John de la Mare when he 
sold that lordship of Langele, with that of Lye, to my husband, 
in the presence of the Lord Berkeley, my father, then I Will that 
my Executors shall enfeoffe the said Reginald, or his heirs, in my 
water-mill at Edulme Bridge, and in my house at Southwark, for 
ever ; to Sir John Cobham ; to John de Cobham, of Devonshire." 

The Will of Petkaech 
(1370) 

To the cultivated reader everything relating to a man who may 
be considered the phenomenon of his age must be interesting. 
The document we subjoin is especially valuable as supplying the 
key to a mind which has drawn to itself our warmest sympathies, 
and whose written thoughts are among the most attaching be- 
quests of poetry. 

The will of the poet-philosopher of Vaucluse is dated "pridie 
nonas Aprilis, 1370," four years before his death, when he was 
sixty-six years of age, having been bom at Arezzo, 20th of July, 
1304. 

He prefaces it with moral reflections on the certainty of death, 
but the uncertainty of its summons, and the necessity of putting 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 27 

one's affairs in order. He then proceeds to state that what he 
possesses is of so little value that he is in some sort ashamed to 
make a will; "sed," adds he, "divitum atque inopium curse, de 
rebus licet imparibus, pares sunt." 

After recommending his soul to Jesus Christ and imploring the 
succor of Mary, of St. Michael, and all the Saints, he orders very 
expressly that he may be buried without any sort of pomp, — 
"absque omni pompa et cum summa humilitate et abjectione, 
quanta esse potest, ..." and renders his heir and his friends 
responsible for the execution of this clause. He claims no tears, 
as useless to the departed, but begs the prayers of the survivors, 
of which he has need. 

Not knowing where he may be at the time of his death, he 
designates in different cities the spot he would choose for his burial, 
naming Padua, Venice, Milan, Rome, and Parma, and leaves a 
legacy of 200 gold ducats to the church at Padua, and 20 to the 
church in which he shall be interred. 

Among special bequests is one to the Governor of Padua, of 
a very fine picture of the Virgin Mary — "opus Joctii, pictoris 
egregii " — which had sent been him from Florence by his friend 
Michael Navis. "In beholding this painting," he says, "pul- 
chritudinem ignorantes, non intelligunt; magistri autem, artis, 
stupent." 

He desires that all the horses he may possess at the time of his 
decease may be divided between his two friends, Bonzanello and 
Lorbardo, and acknowledges a debt to the latter of 334 gold ducats 
and 16 sous, which he nevertheless hopes to pay before his death. 

He bequeaths to the same Lorbardo his smaU round goblet of 
silver-gilt that he may drink as much water as he likes, knowing 
that he prefers water to wine. 

To the Sacristan, Giovanni Bocheta, he gives his large breviary, 
which cost him 100 livres at Venice; but desires that after the 
death of the Sacristan the volume may be deposited in the sacristy 
of the church for the use of all priests attached to that church and 
who will pray for him to God and the Virgin Mary. 

He leaves to Giovanni di Certaldo, otherwise Boccaccio, — 
(verecundi admodum tanto viro, tarn modicum, says he), — 200 gold 
florins of Florence, to purchase him a winter robe suitable for his 
studious vigils. The words " tanto viro " are significant of the great 
esteem in which he held the genius of Boccaccio. 

To Tomaso Bambasia, of Ferrara, he leaves his lute, which he 



28 ANCIENT, CUEIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

describes as "good" — leutum meum honum — but for singing the 
praises of the Lord, and by no means pro vanitate seculi fugacis. 

To Johannes de Horologio — to whom he gives the title of 
"physicum" — he bequeaths 50 gold ducats to buy a ring which 
he will wear on his finger in memory of the testator. 

As for his servants, he gives first to Bartolomeo di Siena, sur- 
named Pancaldus, a sum of 20 ducats, but on condition that he 
will not gamble with it. To Litius, he gives the same, etc. 

In fine, he institutes as his heir and residuary legatee, Francesco 
di Borsano, residing at Milan. He names "a small property he 
has near Vaucluse" of which he desires to make a hospital for the 
poor, and if this could not be done he devises it to the son of Ray- 
mond de Clermont, surnamed Moneto. There are other unim- 
portant clauses, after which comes the date, signature, and names 
of witnesses ; he adds to it, however, a request to his heir to write 
as soon as possible after his death to his brother — a Carthusian 
in a convent at Marseilles (in conventu de Materino) — and to pro- 
pose to either pay down to him a sum of 100 gold florins or an 
annuity of ten, as he might please. The whole terminates with 
these words: Ego Franciscus Petrarca scripsi, qui testamentum 
alivid Jecissem, si essem dives, ut vulgus insanum putat. 

Curious and suggestive as is this relic, the illustrious reformer 
of philosophy, eloquence, poetry, and — shall we not even add — 
of love, has left a yet more engaging clew to his grand character, 
not only in his simple and almost naif "Epistle to Posterity," 
but in a third paper consisting of the private memorandum written 
in the fly-leaf of his Virgil, evidently the outpouring of his heart 
and intended for no human eye. The concluding lines are touch- 
ing in the extreme. What, indeed, can be more sublime than the 
lifelong devotedness of such a soul as Petrarch's to the noblest 
and most beautiful, because the most disinterested, of sentiments 
— an all-absorbing and unaltered, yet pure and passionless, 
affection, and though surviving its object, losing none of its 
intensity ! 

"... Thisloss,"hesays, writing of the death of Laura, "always 
present to my memory, will continually remind me that there is 
no state here below worthy to be called happy, and that it is time 
I should renounce the world since the dearest tie that linked me 
to it is snapped. I hope, by the help of Heaven, this resignation 
may become possible. My mind, in reverting to the past, will 
find that the solicitudes which occupied it were vain; the hope 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 29 

it cherished delusive; that the plans it formed were never to be 
realized, and could only lead to disappointment and distress." 

Petrarch was found dead in his library, his head resting on an 
open book, on the 18th July, 1374. He was within two days of 
seventy. 

Will of Sir Walter Manney 
(1371) 

" Will of Sir Walter, Lord of Manney, Knight, London, St. An- 
drew's Day, 1371. My body to be buried at God's pleasure, but if 
it may be in the midst of the Quire of the Carthusians, called Our 
Lady, near West Smithfield, in the suburbs of London, of my 
foundation, but without any great pomp; and I Will that my 
Executors cause twenty masses to be said for my soul, and that 
every poor person coming to my funeral shall have a penny, to 
pray for me and the remission of my sins ; to Mary, my sister a nun, 
X pounds ; to my two bastard daughters, nuns, viz., to Mialosel 
and Malplesant, the one cc franks, the other c franks ; to Cishbert, 
my cousin ; to Margaret Mareschall, my dear wife, my plate which 
I bought of Robert Francis ; also a girdle of gold, and a hook for 
a mantle, and likewise a garter of gold, with all my girdles and 
knives, all my beds and dossers in my wardrobe, excepting my 
folding bed, paly of blue and red, which I bequeath to my daughter 
of Pembroke ; and I Will also that my said wife have all the goods 
which I purchased of Lord Segrave and the Countess Marshal. 
Also I Will that a tomb of alabaster, with my image as a knight, 
and my arms thereon, shall be made for me, like unto that of Sir 
John Beauchamp in Paul's, in London. I Will that prayers be said 
for me, and for Alice de Henalt, Countess Marshal. And whereas 
the King oweth me an old debt of a thousand pounds, by bills of 
his wardrobe, I Will that, if it can be obtained, it shall be given to 
the Prior and Monks of the Charter-house. And whereas there is 
due to me from the Prince, from the time he had been Prince of 
Wales, the sum of c marks per annum, for my salary as Governor 
of Hardelagh Castle, I bequeath one half thereof to the said Prior 
and Monks of the Charter-house before mentioned, and the other 
half to the executors of my Will. To my wife, and my daughter 
Pembroke, fifteen M florins of gold, and five 'vesseux estutes ph,' 
which Duke Albert oweth me by obligation ; to Sir Guy Bryan, 
Knt., my best chains, whom I also appoint my Executor." 



30 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Will of Edwakd, Prince of Wales 
(1376) 

" In the name, &c.. We, Edward, eldest son of the King of Eng- 
land and France, Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall, and Earl of 
Chester, the 7th June, 1376, in our apartment in the Palace of ouif 
Lord and Father the King at Westminster, being of good and sound 
memory, &c. We bequeath to the altar of Our Lady's chapel at 
Canterbury two basons with our arms, and a large gilt chalice 
enamelled with the arms of Warren. To our son Richard the bed 
which the King our father gave us. To Sir Roger de Clarendon 
a silk bed. To Sir Robert de Walsham, our Confessor, a large bed 
of red camora, with our arms embroidered at each corner; also 
embroidered with the arms of Hereford. To Mons. Alayne Cheyne 
our bed of camora powdered with blue eagles. And we bequeath 
all our goods and chattels, jewels, &c., for the payment of our 
funeral and debts; after which we Will that our executors pay 
certain legacies to our poor servants. All annuities which we 
have given to our Knights, Esquires, and other our followers, in 
reward for their services, we desire to be fully paid. And we 
charge our son Richard, on our blessing, that he fulfil our bequests 
to them. And we appoint our very dear and beloved brother of 
Spain, Duke of Lancaster ; the Reverend Fathers in God, William 
Bishop of Winchester, John Bishop of Bath; William Bishop of 
Asaph ; our Confessor, Sir Robert de Walsham ; Hugh de Segrave, 
Steward of our Lands; Aleyn Stokes; and John Fordham, our 
executors. In testimony of which we have put to this our last 
Will our privy seal, &c." 

" Published by John Ormesheved, Clerk, in the year 1376, in the 
presence of John Bishop of Hereford, Domini Lewis Clifford, 
Nicholas Bonde, and Nicholas de Scharnesford, Knights, and 
William de Walsham, Clerk ; and of many other Knights, Clerks, 
and Esquires. Proved 4 idus June, 1376." 

Will of Lady Alice West 

(1395) 

Some wills, although they cannot be called curious, are highly 
interesting, and excite great curiosity in the reader. For instance. 
Lady Alice West, widow of Sir Thomas West who fought at the 
Battle of Crecy, and an ancestress of the De la Warr family, by 
her will, dated July 15, 1395, and proved on September 1 following 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 31 

bequeaths to " Johane my doughter, my sone is wyf, a masse book, 
and alle the bokes that I have of latyn, englisch, and frencsh, 
out take the forsayd matyns book that is bequeth to Thomas my 
sone." Who can help wondering what books, and particularly 
what English books, this good old lady had at a period five years 
before the death of Chaucer, and nearly eighty years before the 
first book was printed in England ? Perhaps two of them were 
Robert of Gloucester's "Rhyming Chronicles of England," and 
Robert Langland's "The Vision of Piers Ploughman." 

Will of Lady Alice Wtndsobe 

(1400) 

" Will of Alice, widow of William Wyndsore, Knight, at Upmyn- 
ster, on the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, August 15th, 1400, 
1 Henry IV. My body to be buried in the parish Church of Up- 
mynster on the north side before the altar of our Lady the Virgin ; 
to the said Church one of my best oxen for a mortuary ; for wax to 
bum about my body forty shillings ; for ornaments to the said 
Church ten marks ; for repairing the highways near the town forty 
shillings ; I Will that ten marks be distributed to the poor on the 
day of my sepulture ; to the Chaplain six marks ; to John Pelham, 
Sacrist of that Church, three shillings and four pence ; to Joane, my 
younger daughter, my manor of Gaynes, in Upmynster; to Jane 
and Joane, my daughters, - all my other manors and advowsons 
which John Wyndsore, or others, have, by his consent, usurped, 
the which I desire my heirs and executors to recover and see them 
parted between my daughters, for that I say, on the pain of my 
soul, he hath no right there nor never had ; my manor of Compton 
Murdac; to the poor of Upminster xx shillings. And I appoint 
Joane, my youngest daughter ; John Kent, Mercer of London, my 
Executors ; and Sir John Cusson, Knight, and Robert de Litton, 
Esquire, Overseers of this my Will." 

Will of Lady Joane Hungekfokd 

(1411) 

" Will of Joane Lady Hungerford, February 1, 1411. My body 
to be buried in the Chapel of St. Anne, in the Parish Church of 
Farleigh, Himgerford, next to the grave of my husband. I Will that, 
with all possible speed after my decease, my executors cause three 
thousand masses to be said for my soul, and for the souls of all the 



32 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

faithful deceased. Also I desire on my burial day that twelve 
torches and two tapers burn about my body, and that twelve poor 
women, holding the said torches, be cloathed in russet, with linen 
hoods, and having stockings and shoes suitable. I Will that ten 
pounds be bestowed to buy black cloth for the cloathing of my 
sons and daughters, as likewise for the sons and daughters of all 
my domestic servants. I Will that the two hundred marks now 
in the hands of my son. Sir Walter Hungerford, be given to foimd 
a perpetual chantry of one chaplain, to celebrate divine service 
in the Chapel of St. Anne, in the north part of the said Church of 
Farleigh, for the health of my soul, and the soul of my husband, 
and for the souls of all our ancestors forever; to Katherine, the 
wife of my said son Walter, my black mantle furred with minever, 
and to Thomas his son a green bed, embroidered with one grey- 
hound." 

Will of Richard Berne 
(1461) 

" Will of Richard Berne, of Canterbury, 28th April, 1461. My 
body to be buried in the aisle before the cross, in the south part of 
St. Paul's, at Canterbury. To the rebuilding of the bell tower of the 
monastery of St. Augustine ix I. to be paid as soon as the said work , 
shall be begun ; to the prisoners of the Castle of Canterbury and 
of Westgate vi s. viii d. each ; to the Prioress of the Church of St. 
Sepulchre, towards the works of her Church, xiii s. iv d. ; to the 
repair of the highway leading towards Sandwich, by St. Martin's 
Hill and the Fishpoole, x I. ; towards the repair of the highway in 
the Winecheape, between Bircholle's Place and St. James's Hospi- 
tal, X Z. ; to Joan, my wife, my furniture and my best cart, and my 
five horses fit to draw it, with all their harness ; to the building of 
the new bell tower of Tenterden vi s. viii d." 

The Will of Thomas Windsor, Esq. 

(1479) 

" Item. I Will that I have brennying (burning) at my burying 
and funeral service four tapers and twenty-two torches of wax, 
every taper to contain the weight of ten pounds and every torch 
sixteen pounds, which I Will that twenty-four veiy poor men and 
well disposed shall hold, as well at the time of my burying as at my 
monethe's minde (month's remembrance). 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 33 

" Item. I Will that after my mmethe's minde done, the said 
four tapers be delivered to the church-wardens, &c. 

" And that there be 100 children within the age of Ifi years, to 
be at my monethe's minde to pray for my soul . . . that against 
my monethe's minde the candles bren (burn) before the rude in 
the Parish Church. 

"Also that at my monethe's minde my executors provide 20 
priests to sing ■plticebo dirige, &c." 

The Will op Sib Richard Hameeton, Knt. 
(1480) 

This will be found interesting from the characteristic style and 
quaint orthography in which it is penned ; the detail, too, is emi- 
nently suggestive of a simphcity in the individual mind of the testa- 
tor as well as of the social tone of the times, much at variance with 
the more complicated habits of our own day. Sir Richard, it must 
be remarked, was " the head of one of the most ancient and illus- 
trious of the Craven families, the representatives of which still 
flourish and count up to more than twenty generations of Hamer- 
ton's." 

"Richard Hamerton, knyghte, in my hole mynde and witt. 
To be beryed in the kirke of Preston in Craven, in the chapell of 
Our Ladye and Seignt Anne, in the southe syde of the saide kirke, 
wherein a chauntery is founded for a prest in perpetuite to syng 
for Lawrence Hamerton, esquier, and me, the said Richard Hamer- 
ton, knyghte, our wyflFes, our childre, and all our ancestres. 

"Item : I gyflF in the name of my mortuary my beste hors, with 
my sadell, bridell, and othre thingis pertenying to the same. 

"Item: I bequeth to the abbot and convent of the monastery 
of Sallay a standing maser covered and gilted, to pray for me. 

"Item: I bequeth to my son William my best whyte cupp of 
sylver standing. f 

"Item : To my son Sir Stephen my salet gilted, ij basyns, ij lavers, 
ij* chafours, ij pottes, vj doublers, xij dysshes, and vj sausers, accord- 
ing to my fader will, as apperith folowyng : i.e. to the saide Sir 
Stephen and to the heires male of his body ; and for def ante, then to 
Raner Hamerton, son of John Hamerton, broder to the saide Sir 
Stephen; then to Roger Hamerton, broder to the saide Raner; 
then to William Hamerton, broder to the saide Sir Stephen ; and 
for defaute I wille that the saide sylver plate shalle remayne to 



34 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

the abbot and convente of the monastery of Sallay for evermore ; 
for which the saide abbot and convente and ther successoures shall 
praye for the saules of the said Lawrence Hamerton and Isabell his 
wyffe, and me, the saide Richarde and Dame EKzabeth my 
wyffe, our childre saules, and all our auncestres, and for those saules 
whose bodyes we wer most behalden unto in ther lyffes, and for all 
Cristen saules. 

"Item : I bequeth to my saide son, Sr. Stephen, the tabel in the 
chapell, wt. all thingis belongyng the same, a ladell, ij brasse pottes 
of the grettest, ij garingsshe of pewder vessell, a chargiom, a hand- 
reth of yern iiij fete, iiij lange spyttes of yren. To my nevewe, 
John Hamerton, my grete countour in the hall. To my nese, his 
wyffe, a standing cuppe of sylver dim gilt. 

"To my broder James ij oxen, and also my wyffe hath given to 
hym ij whyes. 

"To Raner Hamerton a horse of ij yeres olde ambulyng, another 
of the same age that ambulys to Roger Hamerton. 

"To Cristofer Jakson, a stot and xiij s. iiij d. of money. To 
Richard Clerk a don hors and xiij s. iiij d. 

"To John Rayngill, a stot and whye. To Thomas Kay a stot 
of ij yeres olde. To WilHam Iveson a styrk. 

"To William Fisshe a whye styrk. To Robert Coke a styrk 
and a whye. To Majory Stowte a whye of age. To William Stan- 
den an oxe. 

"Item : I bequeth to a priest xij mark to syng ij yeres for my 
saule, and my wyffe, and all Cristen saules. To iiij orders of Freres 
iiij I. To the Prior and Convent of the Monastery of Bolton xl s. 
I bekueth x marke to be distribute emonge my pore tennantes 
and neghtburs. I bequeth x marc to be distribute emonge pore 
falkes at the daye of my burying. I ordene and mak my wyffe. 
Dame Elizabeth, my sones, Sir Stephen and William Hamerton, 
myn executors. I bequeth ij stottes to William Scarburgh. To 
Richard Hamerton, my broder James son, a fylle of iij yere. To 
my wyffe a wayne wt. vj oxen. To my son WiUiam an othir wayne 
and vj oxen. To John Ellis the yonger a mair. 

"Testibus Ricardo Parisshe, Ablate de Sallay, et WiUelmo 
Scarburgh generoso." 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 35 

Will of "Ablotto, the Pakson" 

(1483) 

"Arlotto, the Parson," who is described as an Italian priest of 
"infinite jest and most excellent fancy," who died in 1483, left 
among his testamentary documents a wish that the following 
words should be placed upon his tomb : "This sepulchre was made 
by the parson Ariotto, for himself and for any other man who 
may desire to enter therein." These words remained upon his 
tomb until they were obhterated by time. 

Will of John Tubvtle 

(1500) 

In a will written about the year 1500, that of John Turvyle, 
of Newhall, Leicestershire, "Squyer," there is a bequest to William, 
his "son and heire apparant," of "a bason and an ewer of silver, 
warnyng and chargyng him, on my blessyng, and as he will answere 
afore God at the day of dome, that he shall bequeith them after 
his decesse to his son and heire apparant, and so under this manner 
and condicion the forsayd basyn and ewer of silver to go from heire 
to heire while the world endureth." Which seems to show that 
the modern system of making particular articles heirlooms to go 
with the estates, so that they should be kept in the family, had not 
then been invented. 

Will of Alice Love 

(1506) 

A specimen of a lady's will gives some idea of the costumes and 
fashions of the day, and the store placed upon their wardrobes, 
which were not so easily replenished as they are now : 

"In the name of God, amen — the 6th daye of the moneth of 
Octobre in the yere of our Lord God a thousand fyve hundred and 
sixe, I, Alice Love, the wife of Gyles Love of Rye, by the speciall 
license of my said husband, asked and opteyned [What does the 
modern woman think of this?], bequeath my parapharnalle — that 
is to seye, myn apparaill to my body belonging. First, I bequeith 
my sowle unto Almighty God, to our blessed Lady and to alle 
Saynts, my body to be buried in the chirch yarde of Rye nigh my 
husband's Thomas Oxenbridge. [It will be seen that Gyles Love was 
this Lady's second husband.] Item, to my moder my graye furred 
gowne with a long trayne ; also a gowne clothe of russet, not made. 



36 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Item, to my suster Mercy my best violet gowne furred with shanks. 
Item, to Margarette Philip my best wolstede kyrtill. Also I gyve to 
my suster Mercy my dymysent with peerles and a corse of gold. 
Item, to Thomas Oxenbridge my best gilt gyrdell that my husband 
Thomas Oxenbridge bought me to my wedding. Item, to Robert 
Oxenbridge a rede powdred corse, with a good harness, and to 
everiche of them a paire of bedys of rede corall. Item, to Besse 
Love my best crymsyn gowne, also her moder's best girdell and 
her best bedys. Also to my suster Ehzabeth Duke a long girdell 
gilt with a golden corse." 

Will of Christopher Columbus 
(1506) 

There seems to be much confusion as to the will of Columbus, al- 
though, in 1498, he made one, and it is known to have existed in 
1530 ; but it is asserted that it was unsigned, and, moreover, that 
it was nullified by a later will he made in 1502, but which also is not 
to be found at the present time. 

The only authentic will of his, therefore, that has descended to us 
is that preserved at Genoa, but which can only be called a codicil. 

It is written on the fly-leaf of a book of "Hours," richly bound 
and adorned, which Columbus had received from Pope Alexander 
VI., and to which he attached the greatest value ; indeed, this is 
apparent, from the fact that it is the first object of which he dis- 
poses in this same codicil : 

Codicillus more militari Christopheri Colombi. 

Cum SS Alexander, PP. VI., me hoc devatissimo precum libello 
honoravit, summum mihi prsebente solatium in captivitatibus, prse- 
liis et adversitatibus meis, volo ut post mortem meam pro memoria 
tradatur amantissimse mese patriae repubhcse Genuensi; et ob 
beneficia in eadeta urbe recepta volo ex stabilibus in Italia redditi- 
hus erigi ibidem novum hospitale, ac pro pauperum in patria meli- 
ori substentatione, deficientique linea mea masculina in admiraltu 
meo Indiarum et annexis juxta privilegiis dicti regis insuccessorem 
declaro et substituo eamdem rempublicam Sancti Georgii.] 

Datum Valledoliti, 4 Mali, 1506. 

s. 

S. A. S. 

X. M. V. 

XPOFEKENS. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 37 

The initial letters which precede the signature of the Christian 
name of Columbus (altered, however, into Christo-/erews) have 
never been explained, any more than the two eagles which also pre- 
cede it ; this spelling, however, need throw no doubt on its authen- 
ticity, as it is identical with the signatures of two letters, dated 
respectively 1502 and 1504, addressed to the Ambassador, Nicolas 
Oderigo. 

Will of Henbt VII 

(1510) 

Henry VII. desires in his will that "our executors and supervi- 
sors and executors of our testament have a special respect, in our 
funeral, to the laud and praising of God, the health of our soul, and 
somewhat to our dignity royal, but avoiding damnable pomp and 
outrageous superfluities." 

Will of Erasmus 
(1536) 

The town of Bdle possesses together with the will of Erasmus, 
the ring, seal, sword, knife, pen, and the portrait by Holbein of 
that great and celebrated man. 

The will was drawn up in Latin, five months prior to his decease, 
12th February, 1536 ; we subjoin a literal translation of this inter- 
esting document. 

" In the name of the Holy Trinity, 

"I, Dediderius Erasmus of Rotterdam, honoured with the flatter- 
ing diplomas of the Emperor, the Sovereign Pontiff, and renowned 
magistrate of the celebrated city of BAle, declare that this act, 
written in my own hand, contains my last wishes; and I desire 
that they may be ratified and confirmed in every particular, annul- 
ling all previous dispositions that I may have made. 

"Certain as I am that I have no legitimate heir (Erasmus was a 
natural son, and was never married), I appoint as my universal 
heir, the very honourable Boniface Amerbach ; and I name as my 
testamentary executors Jer6me Froben and Nicholas Biscop, 
brother-in-law of Froben. 

"I have already sold my Kbrary to Jean de Lasco, a Pole, as may 
be seen by an act passed between us, and signed by both ; but my 
books are only to be delivered to him when he shall have handed 
over two hundred florins to my heir ; and in case he should have 



38 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

destroyed the act above named, or should die before me, my heir is 
at Hberty to dispose of my books as he may please. 

"I bequeath and give to Louis Ber my gold watch; to Beatus 
Rhenanus a golden spoon, and a fork of the same metal ; to Pietro 
Veteri one hundred and fifty gold crowns ; to Philip Montanus the 
same sum; to my servant Lambert — should he still be in my ser- 
vice at the time of my death — two hundred gold florins, unless I 
should give them to him during my Kfe ; to Jehan de Brisgaw my 
scent-bottle of silver ; to Paul Voltzius one hundred gold florins ; 
to Sigismund Gelenius five hundred ducats; to Jehan Erasmus 
Froben, two rings, of which one has no stone, the other a green ( ?) 
stone called by the French turquoise. 

"I bequeath and give to Jerdme Froben all my garments and all 
my furniture ; i.e. all that composes it, whether in woollen or linen 
for the former, in wood or other material for the latter. I give 
him besides, my goblet marked with the arms of the Cardinal de 
Mayence. I give to his wife my ring, bearing the eflBgy of a woman 
looking behind her. 

"I give to Nicholas Biscop, my cup with its cover, on the foot of 
which there are verses engraved ; and to Justine, his wife, two gold 
rings of which one has a diamond, the other a small turquoise. 
I give to Conrad Goclenius my silver cup, surmounted by a figure 
of Fortune. If one of my legatees should come to die, I leave the 
legacy thus lapsed at the disposition of my heir. 

"My said heir is to have, besides the objects already devised to 
him, aU that shall remain of my tazzas, rings, and other similar ar- 
ticles, including the medals bearing the effigy of the King of Poland, 
Severin Boner, etc. ; and all the double and quadruple ducats. He 
is to have the money I have deposited with Conrad Goclenius that 
he may dispose of it in Brabant, as I have recommended to him. 
If there should be anything of mine stiU remaining with Erasmus 
Schet, he is to demand it of him. He will employ this money and 
any other sums remaining over, according to the advice of the execu- 
tors, in distributing alms to the poor, whom age or infirmity has 
rendered impotent, also for marrying young girls or assisting young 
people, who may show an industrious disposition, to start in the world. 

"Such is the act of my last will, written by own proper hand, 
and sealed with my own private seal belonging to my ring, and 
representing the god Terminus. Let all faith be accorded to it. 
Given at Bale, in the house of Jerdme Froben, 12th February, 
1536." 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 39 

Will of Kathebine op Abaoon 
,(1536) 

"In the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, 
Amen. I, Katherine, &c. supplicate and desire King Henry VIII. 
my good Lord, that it please him of his grace, and in alms, and for 
the service of God, to let me have the goods which I do hold, as 
well in gold and silver as other things, and also the same that is due 
to me in money for the time passed, to the intent that I may pay 
my debts and recompense my servants for the good service they 
have done unto me, and the same I desire as effectuously as I may, 
for the necessity wherein I am ready to die and to yield my soul 
unto God. 

"First, I supplicate that my body be buried in a Convent of 
Observant Friars. Item, that for my soul may be said c masses. 
Item, that some personage go to our Lady of Walsingham, in pil- 
grimage, and in going by the way dole xx nobles. Item, I appoint 
to Mistress Darell xx £ for her marriage. Item, I ordain that the 
collar of gold which I brought out of Spain be to my daughter. I or- 
dain to Mistress Blanche x £ sterling. Item, I ordain to Mistress 
Margery, and to Mistress Whiller, to each of them x £ sterling. 
Item, I ordain to Mistress Mary, my physician's wife, and to Mistress 
Isabel, daughter of Mistress Margery, to each of them xl £ sterling. 
Item, I ordain to my physician the year's coming wages. Item, I 
ordain to Francisco Philippe all that I owe unto him, and besides 
that xl. £ sterling. Item, I ordain to Mr. John, mine apothecary, 
his wages for the year coming, and besides that all that is due unto 
him. Item, I ordain that Mr. Whiller be paid of expense about the 
making of my gown, and besides that of xx £ sterling. Item, I give 
to Philip, to Anthony, and to Bastian, to every of themxx£ sterling. 
Item, I ordain to the little maidens x £ to every of them. Item, I 
ordain that my goldsmith be paid of his wages for the year coming, 
and besides all that is due to him hitherto. Item, I ordain that my 
launderer be paid of that is due unto her, and besides that of her 
wages for the year coming. Item, I ordain to the Sabell of Vergas 
XX £ sterling. Item, to my ghostly father his wages for the year 
coming. Item, it may please the King my good Lord, that the ! 
house ornaments of the church to be made of my gowns, which he 
holdeth, for to serve the convent thereat I shall be buried. And the 
furs of the same I give for my daughter." 

Katherine was the youngest daughter of Ferdinand of Aragon 



40 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

and Isabella of Castile. She was bora about 1483 and died in 
1536. On November 14, 1501, she was married to Arthur, Prince 
of Wales, then about fifteen years of age, the eldest son of King 
Henry VII. , who died about five months later. The King, unwilling 
to return her dowry, forced her to marry his remaining son, Henry, 
who was created Prince of Wales, February 18, 1503, succeeding 
to the throne as Henry VIII. on April 21st, 1509. On the 24th of 
June in the same year, they were crowned at Westminster. Her 
only child, Mary, was born on February 15, 1518, and succeeded 
her half-brother. King Edward VI., as Queen of England July 6, 
1553. The history of this unfortunate, but worthy queen, is too 
well known to need further comment. 

Will of Sir William Pelham, Knt. 
(1538) 

" In the name of God. Amen. 26th Oct., the yeare of our 
Lord God a thousande fyve hundred thirty and eight. I, William 
Pelham, Knt., in the countie of Sussex, being hole in mynde and 
of good memory, doth make and ordeign my last will and testa- 
ment in manner and fourme foUowinge: 

"First: I bequeth my soule to Almighty God my Creator, and 
to all the Company of Hevyn; and my body to be buried in the 
Chauncel of Laughton. 

"Item: I bequeth vi. I. xiii s. ii d. for twenty sermons to be 
preached in Laughton, and in the parishes thereabouts. 

"Item: I will that my three sonnes, William, Francis, and 
Edwarde, shall have twenty poimdes sterlinge by the yere during 
their Ivyes, owte of my lands, to be divided equally between them 
into three parts, and my wyffe to have the same, twenty poundes, 
every yere during the tyme of their nonage, towards their fyhd- 
inge, forthwith after my deth. 

"Item: I bequeth a thousande marks sterlinge to be levyed 
upon my woods, to the marriage of my fyve daughters, that is to 
say : Bryget, Margaret, Mary, Anne, and Jane, and to be equally 
between them. 

"Item: I bequeth to John Devynyshe, my best geldinge. 

"The residue of all my goodes, debts, stuffe, and substance, 
I geve unto Mary my wyffe, whom I make myn executrix of this 
my last will. 

"These being witnesses, Mary my wiffe, Nicholas my sonne and 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 41 

his wyffe, John Devynyshe, gentilman. Sir Robert Fourde Freest, 
with many other." 

Will of Mabtin Luther 

(1542) 

There seems to be considerable obscmrity about the authenticity 
of this document. The learned Dutchman, M. Van Proet (who 
gives as his authority the Dutch translation of the "History of 
the Reformation"), says that "the will of Luther is to be found 
in its entirety in the eighth volume of the works of Luther (Al- 
tenburg edition); that the original, on parchment, was formerly 
in the hands of Carpzovius, and that that original, signed by 
Melancthon, Crucigerus, and Bugenhagenius (or Pomeranus) dif- 
fered in some places from the printed copy." 

Seckendorff of Bale, in his Commentary, lib. iii. sects. 36 and 
135, p. 651, speaks thus of it, and it will be seen that Luther does 
not err on the side of modesty : 

" De Testamento Lutheri. — Testatus est, ut exemplar, tom. viii. 
Altenb. fol. 846, relatum ostendit, anno 1542, die Euphemise (16 
Septembris), uxoris potissimum gratiS., cui testamentum perhibet 
probitatis, fidelitatis et honestatis, et quod ab e& semper amatus 
et omnibus officiis cultus sit; nee fecunditatem tacet, qu6d 
quinque liberos tum viventes ediderit. (Observatum est ex 
litteris Pontani post mortem Lutheri ad electorum scriptis, 
quod uxor Lutheri animum paulo elatiorem et imperiosum habuisse 
visa sit, et quod tenax in victu domestico sumptuosa tamen fuerit 
in sedificia, imprimis in praedium illud ZeUsIdorflE quod ei in hdc 
dispositione sak dotali nomine Lutherus assignaverat. Sed 
tolerabiles illi nsevi fuerunt, nee ab omnibus immunem cam judi- 
cavit ipse Lutherus, licet eam tenere amaret. . . .) Non tarn 
conditionem adjecit iis quae uxori destinaverat, quam fiduciam 
testatus est: quod uxor, si ad secunda vota transiret (id quod 
ipsius voluntati et divinse providentise prorsus committit), omnia 
cum liberis divisura sit. Liberos ver6 mavult a matre quam hanc 
ab illis dependere, exemplis se territum dicens, quam inique ssepe 
liberi tractent. Denique omiss^ omni solemnitate legali confidere 
se ait, majorem fidem se mereri quam notarium quemque. 

"Notus sum," inquit "in ccelo, in terrS,, et in inferno, et auctori- 
tatem ad hoc suflScientem habeo ut mihi solo credatur, cum Deus 
mihi homini licet damnabili et misera peccatori, ex paternS, miseri- 
cordiS, Evangelium filii sui crediderit, dederitque ut in eo verax 



42 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

et fidelis fuerim, ita ut multi in mundo illud per me acceperint, 
et me pro doctore veritatis agnoverint, spreto bamio papse, Csesaris, 
regum, principum et sacerdotum, imo omnium dsemonium odio: 
Quidni igitur ad dispositionem hanc in re exiguS, sufficiat, si adsit 
manus mese testimonium et dici possit, haec scripsit D. Martinus 
Lutherus, notarius Dei et testis Evangelii ejus. 

"Additae tamen sunt subscriptiones Melancthonis, Crucigeri 
et Pomerani, sed alio tempore. 

"Elector vero Saxonise rogatus a vidua diplomate domino judica 
hoe anno (10 April) dato, testamentum Lutheri conservavit, jubens 
ut illud etsi solemnitates a legibus requisitse abessent validum 
haberetur et observaretur. ..." 

Our readers will doubtless remember that this curious and char- 
acteristic fragment has been quoted by Robertson, in a note to his 
history of Charies Quint, vol. v. 

Some time ago the Evangelical Church in Hungary believed 
itself possessed of the original last will and testament of the great 
Protestant reformer, Martin Luther. The genuineness of the 
document was, in fact, attested as undoubted by a special com- 
mission appointed to determine that question. The members of 
this body, however, did not consist of historical scholars, but 
chiefly of noted members of Parliament. Accordingly, before long 
it was shown, upon the evidence of Professor Rancke's researches, 
that the only real testament of Luther — that written with his own 
hand — is, as a matter of fact, in the Heidelberg Library, and is 
there kept in a glass case for the inspection of visitors. It has 
also been satisfactorily proved that the will in the possession of the 
Hungarian Evangelicals, though written in a hand exactly like 
Luther's, is not his, but the work of one of his disciples, Henterus, 
who introduced the reformation into Transylvania; he made a 
true copy, even to the very handwriting, of the last will and testa- 
ment of his master. 

Will of Hans Holbein 

(1543) 

Hans Holbein, the younger, belonged to a celebrated family of 
German painters. His great paintings are scattered throughout 
the galleries of the world; his last years were spent in England, 
where he gained both success and fame. He died in London, of the 
plague, in 1543. His will, written shortly before his death, was 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 43 

found in the archives of St. Paul's Cathedral in 1861 and bears 
evidence of having been written in haste, as it probably was. 

It reads as follows : 

"In the name of God the Father, Sonne, and Holy Ghoste, I, 
Johan Holbeine, servante of the King's Majistie, make this my 
testamente and will, to wyt, that alle my goodes shall be sold, and 
also my horse ; and I will that my debtes be payd to wyt : f urste 
to Mr. Anthony the kynges servant of Greenwiche, ye summe of 
ten poundes thirtien shyllinges and sewyne pence sterlinge. 

"And, moreover, I will that he shal be contented for all other 
thynges between him and me. 

"Item : I do owe unto Mr. John of Anwarpe, Goldsmythe, saxe 
pounds sterling, which I will alsoe shalle be payde unto hyme with 
the fyrste. 

"Item : I bequeathe for the kypyng of my two chylder, which be 
atte nurse, for every monthe, seyvene shellinges, and sexpence 
styrljTige. 

" In wytnes I have sealed and sealed thys my testamente, thys 
sexthe daye of October, in the yeare of our Lorde MIVCXLIIJ. 

"Wytnes, Anthony Snetcher, Armerer, Mr. John of Anwarpe, 
aforesaid, Goldsmythe, Obrycke Obynger, Merchante and Harry 
Maynaert, Paynter." 

Wiuj of King Henht VIII 

(1547) 

The greatest testamentary powers ever conferred on an English 
king were given to Henry VIII. by 25 Henry VIII. c. 7, empowering 
him to limit and appoint the succession to the Crown by will, in 
default of children by Jane Seymour. 

This will of Heniy VIII. is to be found in full in Nicolas's "Testa- 
menta Vetusta," a collection of famous wills, a work of great 
excellence, prepared in 1825. There are also to be found the 
Wills of Heniy II., Henry III., Henry IV.. Henry V., Henry VI., 
and Henry VII., as are those of other Kings and Queens of Eng- 
land. 

WiuLi OF Rabelais 

(1553) 

The will of this ingenious satirist is adorned (or disfigured) by 
a very characteristic clause : "I have no available property, I owe 
a great deal ; the rest I give to the poor." 



44 ANCIENT, CURIOUS. AND FAMOUS WILLS 

We cannot affirm that this bull, worthy of an Irishman, is well 
authenticated, any more than Rabelais 's facetious reply to the 
messenger of Cardinal du Belay, whom he sent to see how he fared 
in his last illness : "Je vais chercher un grand peut6tre; tirez le 
rideau, la farce est jou6e." 

Will of Maby Queen of Scots 
(1587) 

Mary Stuart was beheaded in 1587. Her will is to be found in 
a collection entitled : "Pieces fugitives pour servir k I'Histoire de 
France, avec des notes historiques, par M. le Baron d'Aubais," 
1759. This work is in 5 vols. 4to, and the will is in the second. 

It is prefaced by a short note explanatory of the attendant cir- 
cumstances, viz. that it was written by the ill-fated queen on the 
eve of her execution, and after she had been curtly, unceremo- 
niously, and unexpectedly informed it was to take place at eight the 
following morning. The writing out of this, and of an extremely 
touching letter to her brother-in-law, Henri III., occupied her until 
two o'clock in the morning, when she bathed, selected and put on 
her costliest dress, head-dress, and costume, distributed her little 
store of ready money and jewels to her attendants, retired to her 
oratory and prepared herself for death. All this is minutely 
related, also the manner of her death ; for to the last moment the 
queen was unaware whether she were to be beheaded standing or 
with her head on the block. It was, however, to be by the latter 
mode ; and the headsman proved so inexperienced, and his weapon 
so clumsy, that the operation was only completed after three blows. 

Mary's will is written in French, and is word for word as follows : 

"Au nom du Pere, du Fils, et du Sainct Esprit : 

"Je, Marie, par la grSce de Dieu royne d'Ecosse, douariere de 
France etc. : Estant preste k mourir, et n'ayant moyen de faire 
mon testament, j'ay mis ces articles par escrit, lesquels j'entens 
et veulx avoir meme force que si ilz etaient mis en forme. 

"Protestant, premier de mourir en la foi chatolique apostolique 
romaine. 

"Premier, je veulx qui'il soit faict un service complet pour mon 
ame a I'eglise Sainct Denys en France, et I'autre a Sainct Pierre de 
Reims, ou tons mes serviteurs ce trouveront en la mani^re qu'il 
sera ordonne a ceulx a qui j'en donne la charge issi dessouts 
nommez. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 45 

"Plus, qu'un obit annuel soit fonde pour prier pour mon ame a 
perpetuity, a lieu et en la maniere qui sera advise le plus conunode. 

"Pour a quoy fournir je veulx que mes maysons de Pontayne- 
beleau soient vendues, esperant que au surplus le roy m'aydera, 
comme par mon memoyre je le requiers. 

"Je veulx que ma terre de Jespagn demeure a mon cousin de 
Guise pour une de ses filles, si elle venoit a estre mariee en ces 
quartiers ; je quitteray la moiti6 des arerages qui me sont deus, 
ou une partie, a condition que I'autre soit payee, pour estre par 
mes executeurs employee en aumosne annuelle. 

" Pour a quoi mieulx provoir, les papiers seront recherchez 
et delivrez selon I'affination pour en faire poursuite. 

"Je veulx aussi que I'argens que ce retirera de mon proces de 
secondat, soit distribue comme s'en suit. 

"Premier, a la descharge du poiement de mes dettes et man- 
demens si aprez nommez, qui me seront ja paiez, premier, les 
deux mille esqus de Courle que je veulx luy estre payez sans nulle 
contradiction, comme estantz en faveur de mariage sans que nous 
au aultre luy en puisse rien demander, quelque obligation qu'il en 
aye d'autant qu'elle n'est que feincte e que I'argent estoit k moy e 
non emprunte, lequel je ne fis que luy montray, 6 le depuis retir6, et 
me on pris avecque le reste a Chasteley, lequel je lui donne si il 
le pent recovrer, comme il a est6 promis pour payement ces quatre 
mille franks promis, pour payement ces quatre mille franks promis 
par^mort, et mille pour marier ime siene soeur, et m'ayant demande 
le reste pour ses despans en prison; quant a I'assignation de 
pareille somme a nous, elle n'est pas d'obligation, et pour ce a 
toujours este mon intention que elle fust la derni^re payee et encore 
en cas qu'il fasse aparoir n'avoir faict contre la condition pour la 
quelle je les luy avoist donn^z au temoignasge de mes serviteurs. 

"Pour la partie de douze cens esquus que il m'a faict alleuer 
par lui emprunt^e pour mon service de Beauregard, jusques a six 
sens esqus et de Gervays trois cents, et le reste je ne sais d'ou, it 
faut qu'il les repoye de son argent et que j'en soyes quitte e I'assig- 
nation cassee, car je n'en ay rien resceu, mais est le fond en ces 
coffres, si ce n'estoit que ils en soient payez par dela ; comme que 
ce soit; it faut que cett partie me revienne bonne, n'ayant rien 
receu, et si elle estoit payee je doits avoir recours sur son lieu, 6 de 
plus, je veulx que Pasquier compte les deniers que il a despandus 
e receus par le commandement de nous, par les mains des serviteurs 
de M. de Chasteauneuf, I'ambassadeur de France. 



46 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

"Plus, je veulx que mes comptes soyent ouys e mon tresorier 
pay6. 

"Plus, que les gages et parties de mes gens tant de Tann^e passee 
que de la presente, soyent tous payez avant toute autre choze, tant 
gages que pensions, parmis les pensions les pensions de Jean et de 
Courle, jusques a ce que Ton sasche ce qui en doit advenir et ce 
qu'ils auront meritez de moy pour pensions si ce n'est que la fame 
de Courle soyt en necessite, ou luy maltraict6 pour moy ; des gages 
de Jean de mesme. 

" Je veulx que les deux mille quatre cens franks que j'ay donnais 
a Jene Kenedi luy soyent payez en argent, comme il estoit portd 
en son premier don, e quoy fesant la pension de Willi Guillaulme 
Douglas me reviendra, laquelle je donne a Fontenoy pour ces ser- 
vices 6 despens non recompansez. 

" Je veulx que les quatre mille esqus de ce banquier soyent soUisi- 
tez e repayez, duquel j'ay oublie le nom ; mais I'evesque de Glascou 
s'en resoviendra assez ; e si I'assignation premiere venoit k manquer, 
je veulx qu'il leur en soyt donn6 une sur les premiers deniers de 
secondat. 

"Les dix mille franks que I'ambassadeur avoyt receux pour moy, 
je vetilx qu'ilz soyent employez entre mes serviteurs qui s'en vont 
a present a scavoir, premier, deux mille franks a Elizabeth Courle ; 
deux mille franks a Basten Pages ; deux mille k Marie Pages, ma 
fiUeule ; mille k Gourgon ; mille k Gervays. 

"Plus, sur les aultres deniers de mon revenu, a Beauregard, mille 
franks; k Monthay, mille franks. 

"E reste de Secondat et de toutes mes casualitez, je veulx estre 
employez sinq cens franks a la misericorde des enfans de Reims; 
a mes escoliers, deux mille franks ; aux quatre mandians, la somme 
qu'il sera ndcessaire ; a mes executeurs, selon les moyens qui ce 
trouveront, sinq cens franks aux hospitaulx. 

"A I'esquier de cuisine Martin, je donne mille franks; mille 
franks a Hambel, e le laisse k mon cousin de Guise, son parein, a le 
mettre en quelque lieu en son service. 

"Je laysse sinq cens franks a Robin Hamilton et prie mon 
filz le prendre, 6 Monsieur de Glascou faulte de luy, ou I'evesque 
de Rosse. 

" Je laysse a Didier son grefe sous la faveur du roy. 

" Je donne sinq cens franks a Jean Landere, e prie mon cousin de 
Guise ou d'Humaine (pour du Maine) le prendre en leur service, 
k a Messieurs de Glascou et de Rosse qu'ils ayent soing de le voir 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 47 

preveu ; je veuk que son pere soyt paye de ces gages, et luy laysse 
sinq cens franks. 

" Je veulx que mille franks soyent payez k Gourgeon, pour argent 
et aultres chozes qu'ils m'a fournies en ma necessite. 

"E je veulx que si Bourgoin accompli le voiage du voeu qu'il a 
faict pour moy k S. Nicolas, que quinze franks lui soyent livr^s £l 
cet effet. Je laysse selon mon peu de moyen six mille franks a 
I'evesque de Glascou, troys mille a celuy de Rosse. E je laysse la 
donaison des alsualities et droicts seigneriaux recelez a mon filleul, 
filz de M. Duruisseau. 

"Je donne troys cens franks a Laurents, plus troys cens franks 
a Suzanne, 6 laysse dix mille franks entre les quatre parties, qui 
ont estd respondant pour moy € au soUiciteur parmy. 

" Je veulx que I'argent provenant des meubles que j'ay ordonnez 
estre vendus k Londres soyt pour defrayer le voyage de mes gens 
jusques en France. 

"Ma cosche je la laysse pour mener mes filles, e les chevaulx 
pour les vendre ou aultrement en faire leur commoditez. 

"II y a environ cent esqus des gages des ann6es passdes deus k 
Bourgoin, que je veulx luy estre payez. 

"Je laysse deux mille franks a Meluin, mon maystre d'hostel. 

" Je ordonne pour principal executeur de ma volonte mon cousin 
le Due de Guise, 6 aprez luy TArclievesque de Glascou, I'evesque 
de Rosse, et M. Duruisseau, mon chancelier. 

" J'entends que sans faulte le preau jouisse de ces deux prependes. 

" Je recommande Marie Pages, ma fiUeule, k ma cousine Madame 
de Guise, 6 la prie de prendre en son service ; 6 ma tante de S. 
Pierre fayre mettre Montbraye en quelque bon lieu, ou la retenir 
en service pour rhonneur de Dieu. 

"Faict ce jourd'hui 7 Feubrier, mil sinq cens octante e sept. 

"Marie R." 
Will of Alessandko Tassoni 

(1635) 

Tassoni was an Italian diplomat, poet and critic ; he was born 
at Modena in 1565 of an old patrician family. His greatest 
work was the publication, " The Stolen Bucket." The following 
are excerpts from his will : 

" I leave my soul — the most precious thing I possess — to 
its first great cause, the invisible, ineffable, eternal. 

" As for my body, destined as it is to corruption, my own 



48 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

desire would have been that it should be burned ; but that being 
contrary to the custom of the religion in which I was born, I 
beg those in whose house I should die — for I have none of my 
own — to bury me by preference in consecrated ground ; or if I 
should be found dead, without any other roof over me than the 
vault of heaven, I entreat the charitable neighbors or passers-by 
to render me this last service. 

" My wish would be that my funeral should only employ one 
priest, that there should be simply the small cross and a single 
candle, and that as regards expense no more shall be incurred 
than will pay for a sack to stuff my remains into, and a porter 
to carry it. 

" I give twelve gold crowns to the parish, because I cannot 
carry them away." 



CHAPTER ni 

WILLS IN FICTION AND POETRY 

"This brief abridgment of my will I make. 
My soul and body to the skies and ground." 

On Will-making 

An excellent treatise on the foibles of testators and the motives 
which prompt devises, legacies and bequests, is to be found in the 
work of William Hazlitt, "Table Talk or Original Essays," under 
the title, "On Will-making," a portion of which is here subjoined. 
The fame of the author and the merit of the essay justify its intro- 
duction. 

"Few things show the human character in a more ridiculous 
light than the circumstance of will-making. It is the latest oppor- 
tunity we have of exercising the natural perversity of the disposi- 
tion, and we take care to make a good use of it. We husband it 
with jealousy, put it off as long as we can, and then use every 
precaution that the world shall be no gainer by our deaths. This 
last act of our hves seldom belies the former tenor of them, for 
stupidity, caprice, and unmeaning spite. All that we seem to 
think of is to manage matters so (in settUng accounts with those 
who are so unmannerly as to survive us) as to do as Uttle good and 
to plague and disappoint as many people as possible." 



"The art of will-making chiefly consists in baffling the impor- 
tunity of expectation. I do not so much find fault with this when 
it is done as a punishment and obhque satire on servility and sel- 
fishness. It is in that case Diamond cut Diamond — a trial of skill 
between the legacy-hunter and the legacy-maker, which shall 
fool the other. The cringing toad-eater, the officious tale-bearer, 
is perhaps well paid for years of obsequious attendance with a bare 
mention and a mourning-ring; nor can I think that Gil Bias' 
library was not quite as much as the coxcombry of his pretensions 
deserved. There are soxAe admirable scenes in Ben Jonson's 

49 



50 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

' Volpone,' shewing the humours of a legacy-hunter, and the dif- 
ferent ways of fobbing him oflF with excuses and assurances of not 
being forgotten. Yet it is hardly right after all, to encourage this 
kind of pitiful, bare-faced intercourse, without meaning to pay for 
it ; as the coquette has no right to jilt the lovers she has trifled 
with. Flattery and submission are marketable commodities like 
any other, have their price, and ought scarcely to be obtained under 
false pretences. If we see through and despise the wretched crea- 
ture that attempts to impose on our creduUty, we can at any time 
dispense with his services ; if we are soothed by this mockery of 
respect and friendship, why not pay him like any other drudge, 
or as we satisfy the actor who performs a part in a play by our 
particular desire ? But often these premeditated disappointments 
are as unjust as they are cruel, and are marked with circumstances 
of indignity, in proportion to the worth of the object. The sus- 
pecting, the taking it for granted that your name is down in the 
will, is sufficient provocation to have it struck out ; the hinting at 
an obligation, the consciousness of it on the part of the testator, 
will make him determined to avoid the formal acknowledgment 
of it, at any expense. The disinheriting of relations is mostly for 
venial offences, not for base actions : we punish out of pique, 
to revenge some case in which we have been disappointed of oiu- 
wills, some act of disobedience to what had no reasonable ground 
to go upon; and we are obstinate in adhering to our resolution, 
as it was sudden and rash, and doubly bent on asserting our au- 
thority in what we have least right to interfere in. It is the wound 
inflicted upon our self-love, not the stain upon the character of 
the thoughtless offender, that calls for condign punishment. 
Crimes, vices may go unchecked, or unnoticed : but it is the laugh- 
ing at our weaknesses, or thwarting our humours, that is never to 
be forgotten. It is not the errors of others, but our own miscalcu- 
lations, on which we wreak our lasting vengeance. It is ourselves 
that we cannot forgive." 



"An old man is twice a child : the dying man becomes the prop- 
erty of his family. He has no choice left, and his voluntary power 
is merged in old saws and prescriptive usages. The property we 
have derived from our kindred reverts tacitly to them : and not 
to let it take its course, is a sort of violence done to nature as well 
as custom. The idea of property, of something in common, does 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND, FAMOUS WILLS 51 

not mix cordially with friendship, but is inseparable from near 
relationship. We owe a return in kind, where we feel no obligation 
for a favour ; and consign our possessions to our next of kin as 
mechanically as we lean our heads on the pillow, and go out of the 
world in the same state of stupid amazement that we came into 
it ! ... Cetera desunt." 

Human nature is ever the same: WiUiam Hazhtt wrote the 
above lines one hundred years ago, and yet as we read them, there 
appears an emphasized truth in the sentiment contained in a verse 
from "MortaKty," a composition by William Knox, which was the 
favorite poem of Abraham Lincoln : 

" For we are the same our fathers have been. 
We see the same sights that our fathers have seen ; 
We drink the same stream, and view the same sun, 
And run the same course our fathers have run." 

It is said of Hazlitt that his domestic life was infeUcitous ; that 
he had a temperament which was erratic and self-tormenting 
and estranged him from his friends, even for a time from, Charles 
Lamb. He died on September 18, 1830, with Lamb at his bed- 
side, and though disappointed and harassed by anxiety and suffer- 
ing as he had been, yet his last words were : "I've had a happy 
life." How many of us would have said as much ! 

Wills of the Novelist 

The Green Bag says : 

"Where would the noveUst of the period be without the dis- 
inheriting will, the manipulated will, the secreted will, and all 
kinds of wills in every style of obliteration and in every stage of 
destruction ? Why, he would be nearly as bereft of staple stock 
in trade as if he had lost the lovelorn maiden, the tender-hearted 
soldier, or the grand old hall of our ancestors. Even writers of a 
higher grade find it convenient to make use of such machinery to 
help make the story go." 

Old Noibtieb's Will 

Romancers and writers of fiction have taken much interest in, 
and considerable liberty with, wills; for instance, old Noirtier, a 
character in the "Count of Monte Cristo," the great novel by 
Dumas, wrote his will. He was paralyzed, and his only means of 
communication was by the eye : to shut the eye, meant "yes " : 



52 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

to wink the eye, meant "no." His granddaughter had no trouble 
when the notaries appeared in convincing them that her grand- 
parent knew exactly what he was doing ; so, in spite of opposition 
and in the presence of seven witnesses, the will was executed ; and as 
no signature was required under the French law, the act was legally 
accompUshed. 

Dk. Jektll's Will 

Then there was the famous will in "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" : 
the very worthy lawyer, Mr. Utterson, who was "lean, long, 
dusty, dreary and, somehow, lovable," refused to write this will, 
wherein Dr. Jekyll left his possessions to his friend and benefactor, 
Edward Hyde. Mr. Hyde was also to be the possessor of this 
property if Dr. Jekyll should disappear for a period exceeding three 
calendar months, the same to be free from burden or obligation, 
beyond the payment of a few small sums to members of the Doc- 
tor's household. 

The Will op Lord Monmouth 

In "Coningsby," by Disraeli, the reading of Lord Monmouth's 
will is a feature. The document is lengthy, and numerous codicils 
have been added from time to time, involving many modifications. 
The last codicil of aU, however, was the most startling, for under it 
all former dispositions were upset. 

Mb. Casaubon's Will 

In George Eliot's "Middlemarch," we find the will of Mr. 
Casaubon. This gentleman had married a girl, Dorothea Brooke, 
who was very much younger than himself. By his will, he very 
properly gave her all his property. However, on reflection, and 
for reasons best known to himself, he added a codicil and placed the 
legacy given to his wife, upon the condition that she did not marry 
one Ladislaw. 

It would further appear that until the reading of this codicil, it 
had not occurred to Dorothea that Ladislaw might be a possible 
lover ; but he became one, and the very suggestion of the testator 
caused the defeat of the latter's wishes. 

Anthony Trollope's "Oblet Fabm" 

Our author tells us of a forgery of a codicil by the second wife 
of the testator : a son by a first wife is cut off, and the farm is left 
to a son by the second wife. This codicil is in the handwriting of 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 53 

the widow, witnessed by an attorney whose daughter received a 
handsome legacy, the otter witnesses being a clerk and a maid- 
servant. The widow swears that the codicil was drawn at the 
attorney's dictation, in the husband's hearing, and that she was 
present when it was signed by all the parties. The witnesses gave 
evidence as to the due execution of the codicil. The instrument 
was admitted to probate. It developed, however, that there was 
another paper, a dissolution of partnership, signed on the same 
day by the same witnesses. The result was, that the charming 
widow was found guilty of perjury. 

Mr. Meeson's Will 

The following description of this famous will is taken from the 
Green Bag : 

"In 'Mr. Meeson's Will,' Rider Haggard tells of a fiendish pub- 
lisher and a lone island and a tattooed will. It is the particular 
dehght of this issuer of books, though he largely sends forth works 
of a rehgious cast, to crush all the originahty out of his authors 
and turn them into literary hacks, so that they may become dreary 
drudges in his vast estabUshment, sinking even their names in 
numbers, and losing every atom of individuality and every symp- 
tom of spirit. He makes a shamelessly cruel contract with the 
heroine, who writes novels ; and the hero, his nephew, protests and 
is driven out of the concern. But he is driven intojlove with the 
reciprocating maker of manuscript. Then the heroine embarks 
for distant lands ; and it happens, to the great good fortune of the 
inventor of the story, that the publisher sails on board the same 
vessel. The vessel is wrecked and these two are cast on a desert 
island, where they manage to get along after the style of 'Robin- 
son Crusoe' with variations. But the pubhsher, upset in body 
and mind by these experiences, dies, pursued by ghastly visions 
of the suffering authors he has' driven to desperation. 

"Yet these very visions make him see the error of his ways, 
and prompt him to do justice. It is plain to him that he must 
set all things right by making a will in favor of the nephew whom 
he had disinherited. But how to carry out the plan on this spot 
is the question. At last a happy thought strikes the lady. The 
will shall be tattoed across her shoulders, and this is done, though 
she endures no end of agony, and faints away when the job is over. 

"Of course she is rescued by a passing vessel, rejoins her lover, 
and seeks to establish his rights. For this purpose the will must be 



54 ANCIENT, CUEIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

probated, and the law requires the original will to be filed in the 
office. But the Eegistrar, touched by ' Beauty in distress,' allows 
a photograph of the will to be filed. The will is contested by the 
other heirs, but after an exciting trial, described at length in the 
story, victory perches on the shoulders of the lady. 

"This is the real climax of the story, but we are carried on 
through the ringing of the marriage bells, to learn that they lived 
happy ever after." 

His Request Dishegabded 

Horace Walpole writes that a certain testator who was appre- 
hensive that his will would not be upheld, prefaced that document 
with these words : 

"In the name of God, Amen ! I am of sound mind. This is 
my last will and testament, and I desire the courts not to trouble 
themselves to make another for me." 

His request seems not to have been taken in his favor, for the 
courts did make another will for him. 

In ancient Greece, it was quite usual to introduce into wills 
the most formidable imprecations on those who should attempt 
to violate the wishes of the testator; in modern times pecuniary 
penalties, instead of curses, are more in favor with distrustful will- 
makers. 

Jerome on Wills 

Mr. Jerome K. Jerome, after months of study, inspired by a 
determination to get to the bottom of Stage law, mentions among 
the few points on which he is at all clear, the following : 

That if a man dies without leaving a will, then all his property 
goes to the nearest villain. 

But that if a man dies and leaves a will, then all his property 
goes to whoever can get possession of that will. 

Must not Remabbt 

"Iris," in one of Pinero's plays of the same name, is a beautiful 
young widow of twenty-one. She finds herself much hampered by 
the terms of her husband's will, which deprives her of its benefits 
if she remarries. Such a provision is in law perfectly legal and its 
use much indulged in by dying husbands, but whether wisely or 
justly is a matter of serious doubt. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS. AND FAMOUS WILLS 55 

"The Thunderbolt" 

Pinero's latest play, "The Thunderbolt," is a study of the 
manners and respectability of the middle-class of England. The 
play was not received with favor in London, but has been granted 
a hearing by the "New Theatre" of New York, and by competent 
judges is said to be the masterpiece of its author. 

The play is based on a stolen will : the first act shows a family 
gathered around the bier of Edward Mortimore, who had accumu- 
lated wealth in the brewing of beer, which, during his life, was re- 
garded by his family as rather a disreputable business. There is 
absent from the gathering, only one interested person, and that 
is an illegitimate daughter, Helen Thornhill, who is an art student 
in Paris. Helen arrives and is much surprised that her father has 
not remembered her, for the announcement is made that he left 
no wiU ; and she wishes that "every ill that's conceivable" should 
come upon the heads of those who will inherit. It quickly de- 
velops, however, that the father did leave a will, in these words : 

"I leave everything I die possessed of to Helen Thornhill, spin- 
ster, absolutely, and she is to be my sole executrix." 

A confession discloses the fact that the will has been destroyed by 
Phyllis, wife of Thaddeus, a brother of the testator. Helen refuses 
to bring disgrace on the family by a prosecution, and a compromise 
is effected, by which she receives a substantial portion of the 
estate. 

Dickens a Will-maker 

Dickens was a great will-maker. We know that if Dick Swiveller 
had been a steadier youth he would have inherited more than one 
hundred and fifty pounds a year from his Aunt Rebecca. The 
loyal-hearted lover, Mr. Barkis, made Peggotty his residuary lega- 
tee. The litigation in Jarndyce v. Jarndyce arose out of a disputed 
will. The various wills left by old Harmon in "Our Mutual 
Friend" bring about no end of complications, there being at least 
three wills in existence at one time, and each one believed by the 
person discovering it to be the final wiU. 

Mr. George W. E. Russell says that perhaps Dickens's best piece 
of will-making is given in the case of Mr. Spenlow, who, being a 
practitioner in Doctors' Commons, spoke about his own will with 
"a serenity, a tranquillity, a calm sunset air" which quite affected 
David Copperfield ; and then shattered all poor David's hopes by 
dying intestate. 



56 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Pekplexities of Poob Cecilia 

All the perplexities and distresses of poor Cecilia, in Frances 
Bumey's " Memoirs of an Heiress," grew out of a clause in her 
uncle's will, imposing the condition that if she married, her hus- 
band should take her family name of Beverly. Poor Cecilia ! 
What doubts and diflSculties beset her by reason of this unfor- 
tunate provision; and too, it gives the authoress an excellent 
opportunity to harrow up the reader on account of these delicate 
uncertainties and distresses. 

Olivia's Will 

It was suggested to Olivia in "Twelfth Night," that her graces 
would go to the grave and no copy be held ; she responds : 

"O, Sir, I will not be so hard hearted; I will give out divers 
schedules of my beauty ; It shall be inventoried, and every particle 
and utensil labelled to my will ; as, item, two lips indifiEerent red ; 
item, two gray eyes with lids to them ; item, one neck, one chin, 
and so forth." 

POBTIA AND NeEISSA 

In the "Merchant of Venice " Portia is much concerned over 
the will of her father with reference to the caskets : 

"Portia. But this reasoning is not in the fashion to choose me 
a husband. — O me ! the word choose ! I may neither choose 
whom I would, nor refuse whom I dislike ; so is the will of a living 
daughter curbed by the will of a dead father. — Is it not hard, 
Nerissa, that I cannot choose one, nor refuse none ? 

"Nerissa. Your father was ever virtuous, and holy men at 
their death have good inspirations ; therefore, the lottery, that he 
hath devised in these three chests of gold, silver, and lead (whereof 
who chooses his meaning, chooses you) will, no doubt, never be 
chosen by any rightly, but one whom you shall rightly love. But 
what warmth is there in your aflfection towards any of these princely 
suitors that are already come ?" 

Will of Nicholas Gimcback 

The will of Nicholas Gimcrack, Esq., is a curious document, and 
reflects the mind of the worthy virtuoso, and in it his various follies, 
littlenesses and quaint humors are contained in an orderly and dis- 
tinct fashion. This will appears in the Toiler, Vol. IV, No. 216, and 
is here written, minus certain parts which are of no great concern : 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 57 

"the will of a virtuoso 

"I Nicholas Gimcrack, being in sound Health of Mind, but in 
great Weakness of Body, do by this my Last Will and Testament 
bequeath my worldly Goods and Chattels in Manner follows : 
" Imprimis, To my dear Wife, 
One Box of Butterflies, 
One Drawer of Shells, 
A Female Skeleton, 
A dried Cockatrice. 

" Item, To my Daughter EUzabeth, 
My Receipt for preserving dead Caterpillars, . 
As also my preparations of Winter May-Dew, and Embrio 
Pickle. 

" Item, To my little Daughter Fanny, 
Three Crocodiles' Eggs. 
And upon the Birth of her first Child, if she marries with her 

Mother's Consent, 
The Nest of a Humming-Bird. 

" Item, To my eldest Brother, as an Acknowledgment for the 
Lands he has vested in my Son Charles, I bequeath 
My last Year's Collection of Grasshoppers. 

" Item, To his Daughter, Susanna, being his only Child, I be- 
queath my Enghsh Weeds pasted on Royal Paper, 
With my large FoUo of Indian Cabbage. 

******* 

"Having fully provided for my Nephew Isaac, by making over 
to him some years since 
A Horned Scarabseus, 
The Skin of a Rattle-Snake, and 
The Mummy of an Egyptian King, 
I make no further Provision for him in this my Will. 

" My eldest son John having spoken disrespectfully of his Kttle 
sister, whom I keep by me in Spirits of Wine, and in many other 
instances behaved himself undutifully towards me, I do disinherit, 
and wholly cut oflf from any Part of this my Personal Estate, by 
giving him a single Cockle-SheU. 

"To my Second Son Charles, I give and bequeath all my Flowers, 
Plants, Minerals, Mosses, Shells, Pebbles, Fossils, Beetles, Butter- 



58 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

flies, Caterpillars, Grasshoppers, and Vermin, not above specified : 
As also all my Monsters, both wet and dry, making the said Charles 
whole and sole Executor of this my Last Will and Testament, he 
paying or causing to be paid the aforesaid Legacies within the space 
of Six Months after my Decease. And I do hereby revoke all 
other WiDs whatsoever by me formerly made." 

Eustace Budgell 
Pope was an excellent satirist ; he writes : 

" Let Budgell charge lone Grub Street on my quill. 
And write whate'er he please, — except my will." 

Eustace Budgell was born at St. Thomas near Exeter, England, 
in 1685, and died in 1737. He was an essayist and miscellaneous 
writer, and a friend and kinsman of Joseph Addison, who was 
for a time Secretary of State for Ireland : he accompanied Addison 
to Ireland as Clerk, and later became under Secretary of State : 
he was, however, forced to resign his post, and returned to England. 

Budgell is said to have lost a fortune in the notorious scheme 
known to history as the " South Sea Bubble." He published the 
Bee, a periodical which brought him into considerable notoriety. 
He studied law and was called to the bar, but attained little suc- 
cess. By the will of Dr. Matthew Tindal, who died in 1733, 
he was left a legacy of 2000 Guineas : it was claimed that Budgell 
himself inserted this legacy in the will, which was successfully 
disputed by the heirs to the Tindal Estate : his prospects and future 
being ruined, he fell into disgrace and debt, and determined upon 
seK-destruction. Accordingly, 1737, he took a boat at Summer- 
set Stairs, after filling his pockets with stones, and drowned himself 
in the Thames. On his desk was found a slip of paper on which 
were written these words : 

"What Cato did and Addison approved cannot be wrong." 

Will of a Child 

In "Little Women," by Louisa M. Alcott, we find Amy's will, 
and it is a pretty reflection of the sweet and ingenuous spirit of a 
child. And humanity would be the happier for it if we could take 
with us into maturer years, the open hand and the self-forgetful- 
ness of childhood. 

Amy decided to follow the example of her Aunt March in will- 
making, though it cost her many a pang to part with her Httle 
treasures. Here is the paper Laurie was asked to read : 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 59 

"my last will and testament 

"I, Amy Curtis March, being in my sane mind, do give and 
bequeethe all my earthly property — viz. to wit : — namely 

"To my father, my best pictures, sketches, maps, and works of 
art, including frames. Also my $100, to do what he likes with. 

"To my mother, all my clothes, except the blue apron with pock- 
ets, — also my likeness, and my medal, with much love. 

"To my dear sister Margaret, I give my turquoise ring (if I get 
it), also my green box with the doves on it, also my piece of real 
lace for her neck, and my sketch of her as a memorial of her ' little girl. ' 

"To Jo I leave my breast-pin, the one mended with sealing wax, 
also my bronze inkstand — she lost the cover — and my most 
precious plaster rabbit, because I am sorry I burnt up her story. 

"To Beth (if she lives after me) I give my dolls and the Httle 
bureau, my fan, my Unen collars and my new sUppers if she can 
wear them being thin when she gets weU. And I herewith also 
leave her my regret that I ever made fun of old Joanna. 

"To my friend and neighbor Theodore Laurence I bequeethe 
my paper marshay portfolio, my clay model of a horse though he 
did say it hadn't any neck. Also in return for his great kindness 
in the hour of affiction any one of my artistic works he likes, Noter 
Dame is the best. 

"To our venerable benefactor Mr. Laurence I leave my purple 
box with a looking glass in the cover which will be nice for his pens 
and remind him of the departed girl who thanks him for his favors 
to her family, specially Beth. 

"I wish my favorite playmate Kitty Bryant to have the blue 
silk apron and my gold-bead ring with a kiss. 

"To Hannah I give the bandbox she wanted and all the patch- 
work I leave hoping she ' will remember me, when it you see.' 

"And now having disposed of my most valuable property I 
hope all will be satisfied and not blame the dead. I forgive every 
one, and trust we may all meet when the trump shall sound. Amen. 

"To this will and testament I set my hand and seal on this 20th 
day of Nov. Anni Domino 1861. „^^^ ^^^^ j^^^^ 

ESTELLE VaLNOH, 

Theodobe Latirence. 
"Postscript : I wish all my curls cut off, and given round to my 
friends. I forgot it; but I want it done, though it will spoil my 
looks." 



"Witnesses: 



60 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

The Will of Don Quixote 

"I feel, good sirs," said Don Quixote, "that death advances 
fast upon me. Let us then be serious, and bring me a confessor, 
and a notary to draw up my will, for a man in my state must not 
trifle with his soul. Let the notary be sent for, I beseech you, 
while my friend here, the priest, is taking my confession." 

The priest, having listened to his dying friend's confession, 
came out of the room and told them that the good Alonzo Quixano 
was near his end, and certainly in his right senses ; he therefore 
advised them to go in, as it was full time that his will should be 
made. These tidings gave a terrible stab to the overcharged hearts 
of the two ladies and his faithful squire, whose eyes overflowed 
with weeping, and whose bosoms had well-nigh burst with a thou- 
sand sighs and groans ; for, indeed, it must be owned, as we have 
somewhere observed, that whether in the character of Alonzo 
Quixano the Good, or in the capacity of Don Quixote de la Mancha, 
the poor gentleman had always exhibited marks of a peaceable 
temper and agreeable demeanor, for which he was beloved, not 
only by his own family, but also by all those who had the pleasure 
of his acquaintance. 

The notary entering the apartment with the rest of the company, 
wrote the preamble of the will, in which Don Quixote disposed of 
his soul in all the necessary Christian forms ; then proceeding to 
the legacies, he said : 

"Item: Whereas, Sancho Panza, whom, in my madness, I 
made my squire, has in his hands a certain sum of money for 
my use; and, as divers accounts, disbursements, and pecuniary 
transactions have passed between us, it is my will that he shall not 
be charged or brought to account for the said money ; but, if there 
be any overplus after he has deducted the payment of what I owe 
him, the said overplus, which must be a mere trifle, shall be his 
own, and much good may it do him ; and as, during my disorder, 
I contributed to his being made governor of an island, I would now, 
while I enjoy my perfect senses, confer upon him, were it in my 
power, a whole kingdom, which he richly deserves for the inno- 
cency of his heart and the fidelity of his service." 

Then turning to the disconsolate squire, "Forgive me, friend," 
said he, "for having been the cause of thy appearing in the eye of 
the world a madman like myself, by drawing thee into my erroneous 
notions concerning the existence and adventures of knights-errant." 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 61 

"Gentlemen," said Don Quixote, "let us proceed fair and softly. 
I was mad, I am now sane; I was Don Quixote de la Mancha; 
I am now, as formerly styled, Alonzo Quixano the Good. And 
may my repentance and sincerity restore me to the esteem you 
once had for me. Now let the notary proceed. 

"Item : I bequeath to Antonia Quixano, my niece, here present, 
all my estate, real and personal, after the payment of all my debts 
and legacies ; and the first to be discharged shall be the wages due 
to my housekeeper for the time she has been in my service, and 
twenty ducats besides for a suit of mourning. 

"I appoint for my executors signor the priest and signor bachelor 
Sampson Carrasco, here present. 

"Item: It is also my will that, if Antonia Quixano, my niece, 
should be inclined to marry, it shall be only with a man who, upon 
the strictest inquiry, shall be found to know nothing of books of 
chivalry; and, in case it appear that he is acquainted with such 
books, and that my niece, notwithstanding, will and doth marry 
him, then shall she forfeit all I have bequeathed her, which my 
executors may dispose of in pious uses as they think proper. 

"And, finally, I beseech the said gentlemen, my executors, that 
if haply they should come to the knowledge of the author of a 
certain history dispersed abroad, entitled, 'The Second Part of 
the Achievements of Don Quixote de la Mancha,' that they will, 
in my name, most earnestly entreat him to forgive me for having 
been the innocent cause of his writing such a number of absurdities 
as that performance contains ; for I quit this life with some scruples 
of conscience arising from that consideration." 

The will being thus concluded, he was seized with a fainting-fit, 
and stretched himself at full length in the bed, so that all the com- 
pany were alarmed and ran to his assistance. During three days 
which he hved after the will was signed and sealed, he frequently 
fainted, and the whole family was in confusion. Nevertheless, 
the niece ate her victuals, the housekeeper drank to the repose of 
his soul, and even Sancho cherished his little carcass ; for the pros- 
pect of succession either dispels or moderates that affliction which 
an heir ought to feel at the death of the testator. 

At last Don Quixote expired, after having received all the sacra- 
ments, and in the strongest terms, pathetically enforced, expressed 
his abomination against all books of chivalry; and the notary 
observed, that in all the books of that kind which he had perused, 
he had never read of any knight-errant who died quietly in his 



62 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

bed as a good Christian, like Don Quixote ; who, amidst the tears 
and lamentations of all present, gave up the ghost, or, in other 
words, departed this life. The curate was no sooner certified of his 
decease, than he desired the notary to make out a testimonial, 
declaring that Alonzo Quixano the Good, commonly called Don 
Quixote de la Mancha, had taken his departure from this life, and 
died of a natural death ; that no other author, different from Cid 
Hamet Benengeli, should falsely pretend to raise him from the 
dead, and write endless histories of his achievements. 

This was the end of that extraordinary gentleman of La Mancha, 
whose birthplace Cid Hamet was careful to conceal, that all the 
towns and villages of that province might contend for the honor of 
having produced him, as did the seven cities of Greece for the glory 
of giving birth to Homer. The lamentations of Sancho, the niece 
and the housekeeper, are not here given, nor the new epitaphs on 
the tomb of the deceased knight, except the following one, com- 
posed by Sampson Carrasco : 

" A doughty gentleman lies here, 
A stranger all his life to fear ; 
Nor in his death could Death prevail, 
In that last hour, to make him quail. 

" He for the world but little cared ; 
And at his feats the world was scared ; 
A crazy man his life he passed. 
But in his senses died at last." 

WILLS IN POETRY OR RHYME 

The disposition of one's worldly possessions by a testamentary 
document in poetry or rhyme, appears incongruous, yet there are 
numerous documents of this nature : a brief, but striking example of 
such, by an attorney named Smithers who resided in London, follows : 
"As to all my wordly goods, now or to be in store, 
I give them to my beloved wife, and hers forevermore. 
I give all freely ; I no limit fix ; 
This is my will, and she's executrix." 

Will of Mother Hubbard's Dog 

"This wonderful dog 

Was Dame Hubbard's delight ; 

He could dance, he could sing, 

He could read, he could write. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS. AND FAMOUS WILLS 63 

"She went to the druggist 
To get him a pill ; 
And when she came back, 
He was writing his will. 

"So she gave him rich dainties 
Whenever he fed ; 
And put up a monument 
When he was dead." 

On Tremont Street, in the busy heart of Boston, is the beautiful 
little "burying ground," called the "Granary" ; Paul Revere, John 
Quincy Adams, John Hancock, and other distinguished citizens 
of New England rest here under trees which have shaded their 
graves for more than a century. There is also shown the visitor 
the grave of "Mother Goose," the alleged author of the Mother 
Goose Rhymes. It may be iconoclastic to shatter a legend, but the 
truth is, the Mother Goose Rhymes had been jinghng for a century 
and more before this good lady was born; it appears that in 
ancient times,- the goose was a famous story-teller for children, 
and the Goose Melodies are an adaptation from the French. The 
monument in the "Granary" is erected to Mary Goose, wife of 
Isaac Goose ; it would seem that her claim to fame rests entirely 
upon her recitation of the Hubbard Melodies to such an extent 
that her son-in-law, Thomas Fleet, who was a printer, issued a 
special edition for her. 

Piers Plowman 

Piers Plowman, in the fourteenth century, thus made his will : 

"And I wish ere I wend, now to write out my will. 
In God's name, amen ! lo ! I make it myself. 
May God have my soul who hath saved and deserved it, 
Let the kirk have my carrion and keep well my bones." 

Will of Paul Scabbon 

The willl of Paul Scarron, which he chose to write in verse, 
is not a particularly attractive production. It consists of about 
two hundred lines ; the following may be taken as a specimen : 

" Premi^rement je donne et je legue 
A ma femme, qui n'est point b6gue, 
Pouvoir de se remarier. 



64 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

De crainte d'un plus grand desordre. 
Mais pour moi je crois que cet ordre, 

De ma derniere volonte 

Sera celui le mieux execute." 

As is well known, Scarron was a French author and playwright. 
In 1652 he married the beautiful Francine d'Aubigne, afterward 
Madame de Maintenon. He died on October 6, 1660. 

Feancois Villon 

Frangois Villon is an unique character in history, romance and 
poetry. He died about 1484. "The Poems of Master Frangois 
Villon of Paris done into English Verse by John Payne," contain 
his two chief compositions entitled, "The Lesser Testament," 
and "The Greater Testament": they are satires of considerable 
merit and length, and a verse from the first and two from the last 
will suffice to show their character and his style. 

From the first : 

'Item, my gloves and silken hood 

My friend Jacques Cardon, I declare. 
Shall have in fair free gift for good ; 
Also the acorns willows bear 
And every day a capon fair 
, Or goose ; likewise a tenfold vat 
j Of chalk-white wine, besides a pair 

j Of lawsuits, lest he wax too fat." 

From the last : 

"The Register of Wills from me 

Shall have no quid nor quod, I trow : 
But every penny of his fee 
To Tricot, the young priest, shall go ; 
To whose expense gladly eno' 
I'd drink, though it my nightcap cost : 

If but he knew the dice to throw. 
Of Perette's Den I'd make him host." 

" EPITAPH 

"Here lies and slumbers in this place 

One whom Love wreaked his ire upon : 
A scholar, poor of goods and grace. 
That hight of old Frangois Villon : 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 65 

Acre or furrow had he none. 
'Tis known his all he gave away ; 

Bread, tables, tressels, all are gone. 
Gallants, of him this Roundel say." 

Will of Sm Thomas Denny 

Thomas Denny (son and heir of Sir Edmond Denny of England, 
one of the King's Exchequer), 10th May, 1527, wrote his will in 
manner following : 

"... My body to be buried in the parish church of Cheshunt, 
where I dwell, and I will that a stone be laid on me, and that a 
picture of Death be made in the stone, with scrolls in his hand 
bearing this writing thereon : 

" As I am so shalle ye be. 
Pray for me of yr Charity, 
With a Paternoster and an Ave, 
For the rest of the soul of Thomas Denny." 

Then follow sundry bequests and legacies. 

In Latin Vehse 

There is on record the following history of a versified wiU. It is 
that of Frangois Joseph Terrasse Desbillons, born at Chateauneuf, 
in Berry, in 1711, who became a Jesuit, and, after the suppression 
of the order in France, principal of the College of Mannheim. He 
was so remarkable for the elegance and purity with which he wrote 
in Latin that he obtained the sobriquet of "The last of the Romans." 
Owing, perhaps, to this facility, he wrote his will in Latin verse. 
The sight of it in this singular form somewhat startled his executors ; 
but as all the necessary formalities had been observed, no difficulty 
occurred, and it was carried out in entire conformity with his wishes, 
without any interference on the part of the law. 

A Will in Rhyme 

Another poetic will, that of John Hedges, late of Finchley, 
Middlesex, was proved in an EngUsh court on July 5, 1737, and is 
worthy of a place among quaint and eccentric wills. It reads as 

follows : 

"This fifth of May, 

Being airy and gay. 



66 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

To trip not inclined. 
But of vigorous mind, 
And my body in health, 
I'll dispose of my wealth ; 
And of all I'm to leave 
On this side the grave. 
To some one or other, 
I think to my brother. 

" But because I presaw 
That my brother-in-law 
I did not take care, 
Would come in for a share. 
Which I noways intended, 
Till their manners were mended — 
And of that there's no sign. 

" I do therefore enjoin. 
And strictly command. 
As witness my hand. 
That nought I have got 
Be brought to hotch-pot. 

" And I give and devise. 
Much as in me lies. 
To the son of my mother,' 
My own dear brother. 
To have and to hold 
All my silver and gold. 
As the affectionate pledges 
Of his brother, 

"John Hedges." 

Will of William Hickengton 

William Hickington, who died in the year 1770, wrote his will 
in rhyme, as follows : 

"This is my last will, 
I insist on it still ; 
To sneer on and welcome, 
And e'en laugh your fill. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 67 

I, William Hickington, 
Poet of Pocklington, 
Do give and bequeath, 
As free as I breathe, 
To thee, Mary Jarum, 
The Queen of my Harimi, 
My cash and my cattle. 
With every chattel. 
To have and to hold, 
Come heat or come cold. 
Sans hindrance or strife. 
Though thou art not my wife. 
As witness my hand. 
Just here as I stand. 
The twelfth of July, 
In the year Seventy. 

"Wm. Hickington." 

This will was admitted to probate at the Deanery Court in the 
City of York, England, 1770. 

Will op Will Jackett 

This will was proved at Doctors' Commons, London, on July 17, 
1789, and runs as follows : 

" I give and bequeath, 

When I'm laid underneath. 
To my two loving sisters most dear. 

The whole of my store. 

Were it twice as much more. 
Which God's goodness has given me here. 

" And that none may prevent 

This my will and intent. 
Or occasion the least of law-racket. 

With a solemn appeal 

I confirm, sign, and seal 
This the true act and deed of Will Jackett." 

Mr. William Jackett, it appears, was a faithful and trustworthy 
as well as a thrifty fellow, for he remained for thirty years in the 
service of Messrs. Fuller and Vaughan as manager of their business^ 
He resided in the parish of St. Mary, Islington. 



68 ANCIENT, CUEIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Will of an Irish Schoolmaster 

The following is the will of Pat O'Kelly, an Irish schoolmaster, 
who wrote, on the leaf of a copybook which he had just finished 
ruling (thus exempUfying the ruling passion strong in death), the 
lines here transcribed : 

"I, having neither kith nor kin. 
Bequeath all I have named herein 
To Harriet my dearest wife. 
To have and hold as hers for life. 
While in good health, and sound in mind. 
This codicil I've undersigned." 

Rather Sacrilegious 

The spirit of sacriljsge is shown in an old quatrain to be found in 
the books : 

"In the name of God, Amen : 
My featherbed to my wife, Jen ; 
Also my carpenter's saw and hammer ; 
Until she marries ; then, God damn her ! " 

Will of William Ruffell, Esq. 

Wilham Ruffell of Shimpling, Suffolk, England, was a gentleman 
of an ancient and highly respectable family ; he is said to have been 
a good specimen of an old-fashioned gentleman farmer. His will, 
which was written in 1803, is as follows : 

"As this life must soon end, and my frame will decay. 
And my soul to some far-distant clime wing its way, 
Ere that time arrives, now I free am from cares, 
I thus wish to settle my worldly affairs, 
A course right and proper men of sense will agree. 
I am now strong and hearty, my age forty-three ; 
I make this my last will, as I think 'tis quite time. 
It conveys all I wish, though 'tis written in rhyme. 
To employ an attorney I ne'er was inclin'd. 
They are pests to society, sharks of mankind. 
To avoid that base tribe my own will I now draw. 
May I ever escape coming under their paw. 
To Ezra Dalton, my nephew, I give all my land. 
With the old Gothic cottage that thereon doth stand ; 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 69 

'Tis near Shimpling great road, in which I now dwell, 

It looks like a chapel or hermit's old cell, 

With my furniture, plate, and linen likewise. 

And securities, money, with what may arise. 

'Tis my wish and desire that he should enjoy these, 

And pray let him take even my skin, if he please. 

To my loving, kind sister I give and bequeath. 

For her tender regard, when this world I shall leave, 

If she choose to accept it, my rump-bone may take. 

And tip it with silver, a whistle to make. 

My brother-in-law is a strange-tempered dog ; 

He's as fierce as a tiger, in manners a hog ; 

A petty tyrant at home, his frowns how they dread ; 

Two ideas at once never entered his head. 

So proud and so covetous, moreover so mean, 

I dislike to look at him, the fellow is so lean. 

He ne'er behaved well, and, though very unwilling. 

Yet I feel that I must cut him off with a shilling. 

My executors, too, should be men of good fame ; 

I appoint Edmund Ruffell, of Cockfield, by name ; 

In his old easy chair, with short pipe and snuff. 

What matter his whims, he is honest enough ; 

With Samuel Seely, of Alpheton Lion, 

I like his strong beer, and his word can rely on. 

When Death's iron hand gives the last fatal blow. 

And my shattered old frame in the dust must lie low, 

Without funeral pomp let my remains be conveyed 

To Brent Eleigh churchyard, near my father be laid. 

This, written with my own hand, there can be no appeal, 

I now therefore at once set my hand and my seal. 

As being my last will ; I to this fully agree, 

This eighteenth day of March, eighteen hundred and three." 

Two English Wills 

The following is a copy of the will of the late Mr. Joshua West, 
of the Six Clerks' Office, Chancery Lane, dated December 13, 1804 : 

"Perhaps I died not worth a groat ; 

But should I die worth something more. 
Then I give that, and my best coat. 
And all my manuscripts in store. 



70 ANCIENT. CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

To those who shall the goodness have 

To cause my poor remains to rest 
Within a decent shell and grave. 
This is the will of Joshua West. 

"Joshua West. 
"Witnessed R. Miuls. 

J. A. Berrt. 
John Bainis." 

Mr. West died possessed of property, and some valuable manu- 
scripts, which were conveyed by the above will. 

The following will in rhyme was written by William Hunnis, a 
gentleman of the chapel under Edward VI., and afterwards Chapel 
Master to Queen EUzabeth : 

"To God my soule I do bequeathe, because it is his owen, 
My body to be layd in grave, where to my friends best knowen ; 
Executors I will none make, thereby great stryfe may grow. 
Because the goods that I shall leave wyll not pay all I owe." 

Will of James Bigsbt 

The following is a curious testamentary paper of a North 
Essex laborer, who resided at Manningtree, England : 

"As I feel very queer my will I now make; 
Write it down, Joseph Finch, and make no mistake. 
I wish to leave all things fair and right, do you see, 
And my relatives satisfy. Now, listen to me. 
The first in my will is Lydia my wife, 
Who to me proved a comfort three years of my life ; 
The second my poor aged mother I say. 
With whom I have quarrelled on many a day. 
For which I've been sorry, and also am still ; 
I wish to give her a place in my will. 
The third that I mention is my dear little child ; 
When I think of her, Joseph, I feel almost wild. 
Uncle Sam Bigsby, I must think of him too, 
Peradventure he will say that I scarcely can do. 
And poor Uncle Gregory, I must leave him a part. 
If it is nothing else but the back of the cart. 
And for you, my executor, I will do what I can, 
For acting towards me like an honest young man. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS. AND FAMOUS WELLS 71 

" Now, to my wife I bequeath greater part of my store ; 
First thing is the bedstead before the front door ; 
The next is the chair standing by the fireside, 
The fender and irons she cleaned with much pride. 
I also bequeath to Lydia my wife 
A box in the cupboard, a sword, a gun, and knife. 
And the harmless old pistol without any lock, 
Which no man can fire off, for 'tis minus a cock. 
The cups and the saucers I leave her also, 
And a book called 'The History of Poor Little Mo,' 
With the kettle, the boiler, and old frying-pan, 
A shovel, a mud-scoop, a pail, and a pan. 
And remember, I firmly declare my protest 
That my poor aged mother shall have my oak chest 
And the broken whip under it. Do you hear what I say ? 
Write all these things down without any delay. 
And my dear little child, I must think of her too. 
Friend Joseph, I am dying, what shall I do ? 
I give her my banyan, my cap, and my hose. 
My big monkey-jacket, my shirt, and my shoes ; 
And to Uncle Sam Bigsby, I bequeath my high boots. 
The pickaxe and mattock with which I stubbed roots. 
And poor Uncle Gregory, with the whole of my heart, 
I give for a bedstead the back of the cart. 
And to you, my executor, last in my will, 
I bequeath a few trifles to pay off your bill. 
I give you my shot-belt, my dog, and my nets. 
And the rest of my goods sell to pay off my debts. 

"Joseph Finch, Executor. 
"Dated Febkuakt 4th, 1839." 



From Missouri 

Under the spell of the Muse, Joseph Johnson Cassiday, a well- 
known farmer of Jasper County, Missouri, prepared his will in 
rhyme ; for several years this document answered the purposes of 
the testator; just prior to his death, however, in March, 1910, 
more serious thoughts seem to have come over him, and Mr. Cassiday 
executed a different will, the last being done in the usual prose 
form. The will in rhyme is given below : 



72 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

"I, Joseph Johnson Cassiday, 
Being sound of mind and memory. 
Do hereby publish my intent. 
This my will and testament. 
That all my just debts first be paid, 
Expense for burial and funeral made, ' 
And all expenses made of late, 
Out of my personal and real estate. 
I do bequeath, devise and give. 
As long as she, my wife, shall live. 
Lot six in the original town of Lever, 
To her assigns and heirs forever. 
To my adopted daughter Marie, 
I do devise and give in fee. 
The southeast quarter of section seven 
Township nine and range eleven. 
To my two sons Josephus and Reach, 
I. do devise one dollar each. 
The residue of my estate, 
I do bequeath to Mary Kate, 
And I hereby appoint her for. 
My last will, executor. 
This eighteenth day of May was done. 
In the year of our Lord, Nineteen One." 



CHAPTER IV 

CURIOUS WILLS 

_ "Most men are within a finger's breadth of being mad; for if a man walk with 
his middle finger pointing out, folk will think him mad, but not so if it be his fore- 
finger." 

"Where be your Gibes now? Your Gambols? Your songs? Your flashes of 
merriment, that were wont to set the table on a roar? " 



Husbands, Wives, and Childhen 

" Men should be careful lest they cause women to weep, for God counts their tears." 

An editorial on "Testamentary Habits and Peculiar Wills," 
appeared in the Western Reserve Law Journal some time ago. Its 
excellence merits a reproduction in part : 

" The laws of human nature underlie all systems of jurisprudence. 
Positive law is evolved out of long periods of human phenomena. 
The general systems of law are the composite products of innumer- 
able generations of men. These accepted codes are supposed to 
embody the survivals of an immemorial struggle between right and 
wrong, and the highest sentiments of justice, and the clearest per- 
fection of reason of all ages. But it is a remarkable fact that one- 
half of all the property in the world, in the succession of genera- 
tions, is transmitted and controlled by the supreme purpose and 
disposition of individual men and women. The tenure of property 
is not always held, nor is it transmitted, according to legislative 
enactments or judicial law. Under the testamentary privilege se- 
cured by law the unenlightened mind often becomes the legislature 
which frames and promulgates the rule of descent which fixes the 
destiny of millions of property. The perfect freedom and untram- 
melled modes of expression, secured in the will-making privilege, 
results in the manifestation of the most normal and spontaneous 
spirit of the individual. 

" For genuine and authentic repositories of human idiosyncrasies 
and whimsical peculiarities, as well as lofty sentiments and noble 
thoughts on high themes, there is nothing comparable with the last 

73 



74 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

will and testament. There are several reasons for the existence 
of this fact. 

" 1st. The will is usually the product of grave thought and deUb- 
eration. It is the matured disposition of the individual testator, 
framed and published in the exercise of one of the highest and best 
appreciated rights granted by society to the individual. The will 
is also the outgrowth of the individual's sense of duty involved in 
sacred domestic and family obligations and relationships. 

" 2d. The right to make the will confers the privilege coveted by 
both men and women to speak into the universal ear 'the last 
word.' The sum of man's moral sense, and his exact ethical tone, 
is not infrequently concentrated in his last will. 

" 3d. In the ages of the world, when the agitation of religious 
beUefs was most prevalent, men were prone to give a summary 
of their opinions upon religion in their wills. The rites and ceremo- 
nies of sepulchre are often prescribed ; the belief in immortality is 
often expressed in these sacred documents. The vanities and 
foibles, the whims and caprices, the eccentricities and prejudices, 
all leave their exact mould and expression in this important instru- 
ment. The cynic adopts this means of giving a parting blow to the 
unfriendly and unsympathizing world. It is said that the mould 
and fashion of the human form was so preserved in ancient Egypt 
by the embalmer's art that the peculiar physiognomy of the Pha- 
raohs is discovered after three thousand years of burial. This art of 
preservation has been lost. But in the numerous receptacles for 
recorded wills in Europe and America are found the mummified in- 
tellectual and spiritual remains of past generations as clearly 
and positively embalmed as are the bodies of the Pharaohs. 

"It is interesting to note the influence of long-established customs 
upon the social habits of people. The present habitat of the will- 
making people is continental Europe. This fact is susceptible of 
easy explanation. The jurisprudence of the continent is founded 
on Roman law. Sir Henry Sumner Maine has well said: 'To 
the Romans belong preeminently the credit of inventing the will, 
the institution which, next to the contract, has exercised the 
greatest influence in transforming human society. ... To the 
Roman no evil seems to have been a heavier visitation than the 
forfeiture of testamentary privilege ; no curse seems to have been 
bitterer than that imprecated upon an enemy 'that he might die 
without a will. ' " 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 75 

" The odd freaks, vagaries and vanities of men thus find permanent 
lodgment in testamentary remains. While these features of the will 
at first appear to defy classification, yet by careful examination, 
extending over long periods, the manifestation of unvarying 
habits of mind, and the existence of constant and controlling in- 
stincts and motives, are readily discovered. 

" These natures of ours, when freely dealing with the subject of 
property, and exhibiting solemn sentiments upon duty and destiny, 
unconsciously yield to fundamental laws of uniform operation; 
and these testamentary memorials may be made to furnish much 
curious instruction upon psychological and sociological subjects." 

Duty of Husbands to make Wills 

The following article from the pen of Harriette M. Johnston- 
Wood, of the New York bar, appeared in Harper's Weekly in the issue 
of September 24, 1910 ; there is much in it which should appeal to 
the sense of justice and manhood of the husbands, brothers and 
sons of our country. The barbaric treatment of women with 
reference to property rights should no longer find a place in the 
laws of a country which boasts of its enlightenment and freedom as 
does the United States. It is gratifying to record that a more 
liberal policy is fast being adopted by the law-making bodies of 
our States. 

Our author says : 

"It has been our custom for a number of years to pass our summer 
vacation on the banks of Lake Seneca, where one of us was born. 
Here our paternal grandparents came when the country was yet a 
wilderness, and here they lived and died. Their wedding journey 
from Rensselaerwick was made in a covered wagon, in which they 
brought their worldly possessions, some chairs, a table, a bed, a stove, 
some dishes and cooking utensils. A half-dozen sheep and a cow 
brought up the rear of this caravan. Here they cleared the groimd 
and built a house. Grandmother dyed and carded and spun into 
yarn and wove into cloth the wool from the sheep, from which she 
knitted the socks and mittens and made the clothing. From the 
flax which grew wild thereabouts she made the household linen. 
No small tasks were these when eventually nine children came to 
demand care and protection. Once a year a perambulating shoe- 
maker came through the country, and then this small army was 
shod, with boots and shoes in reserve sufficient to last until his 



76 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

return. By and by a frame house was built, a luxury in those days ; 
property was accumulated. 

" To whom did it belong ? 

" In justice and equity it belonged to both parents. Each had 
borne the burden ; each should share in the reward. But the law 
said no. The wife's services belong to the husband, and their 
joint earnings belong to him, only the husband must support the 
wife. The wife owned nothing. Truly a munificent compensation 
for fifty years of service such as this ! 

" Did grandfather support grandmother ? Were grandmother's 
services less valuable than grandfather's ? By what righteous 
authority did everything belong to grandfather? — he being al- 
lowed to give or will away everything, except the use of one-third of 
the real estate, which grandmother might have after his death, but 
for her hfetime only. It was barely possible that grandmother 
might have liked to give or will something to her children on her 
own account. When she had earned it, by years of toil as hard as 
his, why should she not have been allowed to gratify this altogether 
worthy ambition ? 

" Forty years ago a boy and a girl married. He had nothing. 
She had saved five hundred dollars teaching school. They bought 
a farm, paying her five hundred dollars down, and taking a mort- 
gage for the balance. Title was taken in the husband's name. 
They worked together for forty years. He died, leaving no will. 
There were no children. Under the law of the State the property 
went to his brothers and sisters, all old, all well-to-do. The person- 
alty amounted to very little. The wife's dower, the use of one- 
third during her fife, amounts to less than $200 a year, and this is 
her sole support in her old age. 

" In that section of the country women can get one dollar a day 
for at least half the year working in fruit, tying grape-vines, putting 
handles on baskets, picking berries, cherries, and currants, and 
packing grapes, peaches and plums. Household service is always at 
a premium, as no one there will go out to do that kind of work. 
They are the descendants of the old settlers and are proud. The 
married women work in the fruit in the daytime, and perform their 
household duties at night. This means baking and cooking and 
stewing, and washing and ironing and mending for the hired men 
as well as the family. Incidentally they raise children. No one 
person could be hired to do this work. They do it for love, but we 
beheve there is no insurmountable obstacle in the way of getting 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS. AND FAMOUS WELLS 77 

both love and justice; we believe that love and injustice are 
irreconcilable, — and if we must choose between them, my advice 
is to exact justice and take a chance on love. 

" To wife's services, 40 years at $3 per week (worth $5), 
allowing for clothing, which she makes herself and which 
seldom equals and rarely exceeds $30 a year, about . . $30,000 

To $500 and interest, 40 years, about 6,000 

Total $36,000 

Would the whole estate have been more than this wife was 
entitled to ? 

" A bride was presented by her uncle with $2000, with which the 
thrifty bridegroom bought sheep. It proved a profitable invest- 
ment, and in time they were well-to-do. At the expiration of fifty 
years of matrimony and mutual toil (which included the rearing 
of six children) the husband died. By his last will and testament 
he gave to his beloved wife two thousand dollars in cash, or her 
dower interest in his real estate. The wife took the cash. Her 
original two thousand dollars for fifty years then amounted to 
about $60,000. 

" This shows that a wife may be considered to be a good in- 
vestment. 



" A clerk in a delicatessen store in a large city married a German 
governess. They started a similar store of their own and lived in 
the rear. The wife did the housework and the cooking and baking 
for the store, and between times waited on customers. They were 
frugal and prospered. After twenty years the husband died. 
The wife naturally thought she was entitled to the property, at 
least a portion of it. But the husband had made a will prior to his 
marriage, whereby he devised his property to his brothers and sisters. ' ' 

1^ ill He * * * * 

"The staple argument of the opponents of equal laws for men and 
women is that wives are privileged in that they can do with their 
own as they Uke, while the husbands caimot. But is the property 
the husband's any more than the wife's when they accumulate it 
jointly ? Up to the marriageable age girls earn nothing ; after 
marriage their services belong to their husbands. Where is the 
opportunity to accumulate property which shall be their very own in 
the eyes of the law, with which they may do as they like ? What 



78 ANCIENT, CURIOUS. AND FAMOUS WILLS 

provision can they make for possible incapacity and certain old age 
if they live?" 

Will of a Chinaman 

There was filed in the Surrogate's Office of Queens County, 
New York, on October 1, 1910, what the newspapers refer to as 
the queerest instrument ever recorded in New York City. The 
testator was John Ling, a Chinaman, of Woodbridge, New Jersey. 

The original will was probated in Middlesex County, New Jersey, 
but as Ling was the owner of considerable real estate in Queens 
County, before settlement could be made an exemplified copy of the 
will had to be filed there. 

It appears that John Ling, Jr., a son of the deceased, had taken 
an Irish bride, much against the will of his father. The China- 
man was enraged, and talked long and earnestly with his son upon 
the subject. But to no avail. The young man refused to leave 
his Irish bride. When the old man died, he left the following will : 

"First, I leave and bequeath to John Ling, my son, the sum of $1. 
With the said sum of $1, or 100 cents, I wish that he would purchase 
a rope strong and long enough to support his Irish wife ; the said 
sum of $1 to be paid six months after my decease by my wife, her 
heirs or executors. 

"Secondly, I leave and bequeath to my wife, Mary Ling, all 
property, whether in America or England, that I may be possessed 
of, during her natural life ; and at her death said property is to be 
equally divided between Samson and Mary Ling, son and daughter 
of John and Mary Ling; and should neither Samson nor Mary 
survive to come in possession of the said property now belonging 
to John and Mary Ling, the property is then to descend unto John 
Ling, the son of Joseph Ling, my nephew, now residing in Europe, 
with the exception of the $1 to be paid to my son, John Ling." 

Two Hundred Dollars for a Husband 

According to the New York Sun, an attractive young German 
woman of Washington, D.C., walked into a newspaper office in that 
city on October 11, 1910, and requested the insertion of the follow- 
ing advertisement: 

" 'Young woman, fairly wealthy, from foreign country, desires to 
meet at once some poor young man. Object, matrimony.' 

" She gave her name as Eugenie Adams, but admitted that this 
was an assumed name. She said she was wUhng to give her pro- 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS ^WILLS 79 

spective husband a bonus of $200. She explained that her uncle, 
who Uved in Germany, had named her as the beneficiary in his will, 
provided she married in a week. 

" ' You see it is this way,' she explained with a German accent, 
* my old uncle is very eccentric. He hves in the Fatherland, where 
all my people are. He has named me the beneficiary of his will if 
I am married by a week from to-day. I am very poor. I want the 
money. I plan to get married in order to obtain it. I will pay any 
young man $200 to marry me. 

" ' But I will be no trouble to him,' she continued. ' I will get a 
divorce from him at once and never see him again. I do not want 
to remain married. I only want to return to Germany at once with 
my marriage papers. Could a man make $200 in an easier way ? ' 

" She decUned to give the amount of the legacy she expected to 
obtain through her marriage." 

The Result 

The St. Louis Times in a recent editorial comments on the "Two- 
hundred-dollar Husband," as follows : 

" We have been much interested in a story which has been tele- 
graphed from Washington, and which relates the circumstances 
under which a presentable f raulein bought a husband, in order that 
she might inherit an estate — which was willed her on the condition 
that she marry within a given time. 

" She appears to have wanted the estate badly, though the idea of 
having a husband did not appeal to her at all. Perhaps there was 
a ruddy faced Heine at home with whom she had danced in the old 
days, and who still held her heart in thrall. Be that as it may — 
as Laura Jean Libbey would say — she married her emergency 
husband in Washington only because she had to, in order to get the 
estate. 

" She did not wish ever to see her husband again, and when a 
sailor appeared in response to her advertisement, she rather liked 
the looks of him — for the occasion at hand — but decided, wisely, 
that he would not do, because 'he travelled around the world, 
and she might see him again.' She finally decided in favor of one 
Harry Oliver Brown, who wore a flowing sandy mustache, and a 
celluloid collar, and carried a walking-stick. We should have 
thought the flowing sandy mustache would have been enough, 
though we have no objection to the celluloid collar and the walking- 
stick, if they be thought to possess a corroborative value. 



80 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WELLS 

" And so the two were married, and Mrs. Brown gave her hired 
husband $200 and bade him good-by and left, without even saying 
she would hurry back, and boarded a ship for the Fatherland, 
where the estate was — and, presumably, is. 

" We have related this quaint fable because it seems to possess a 
valuable idea for those who contemplate matrimony, not because 
they consider themselves fitted for it in any way, but because they 
feel they 'have to get married' — so much the slave to public 
opinion are many estimable yoimg people. 

" If the thing has to be done, we commend the method of Mrs. 
Harry Oliver Brown. A sandy mustache, a celluloid collar, and 
a walking-stick can always be had for a song — and there is not a 
very heavy percentage of sailors." 

Knew her Disposition 

It is recorded of an old English farmer, that, in giving instructions 
for his will, he directed a legacy of one hundred pounds be given to 
his widow. Being informed that some distinction was usually made 
in case the widow married again, he doubled the sum ; and when 
told that this was quite contrary to custom, he said, with heartfelt 
sympathy for his possible successor, "Aye, but him as gets, her '11 
deserve it." 

Clothes on a Hickory Limb 

The will of Charles C. Dickinson, former president of the Car- 
negie Trust Company, who died a few months- ago, contains a 
bequest of $4000 for the education of his son Charles, at Cornell, 
with the strange stipulation that the son shaU forfeit this allowance 
if he goes "to or upon Cayuga Lake." 

The lake is used by the Cornell crews and by students for canoe- 
ing and sailing. 

To a nephew he leaves $2000 for educational purposes, with the 
same restrictions regarding Cayuga Lake. 

Sarcastic Will 

A British sailor requested his executors to pay to his wife one 
shilling, wherewith to buy hazelnuts, as she had always preferred 
cracking nuts to mending his stockings. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 81 

A Contrite Husband 

J. Withipol of Walthamstow, Essex County, England, left his 
landed estates to his wife, "trusting, yea, I may say, as I think, 
assuring myself, that she will many no man, for fear to meet with 
so evil a husband as I have been to her." 

Aunt Ltjnkt's Will 

The author has sought with little success for wills which would 
portray the character of the negro race, although the aid of Mr. 
Booker T. Washington was enlisted in this behalf. One, however, 
is offered : 

Aunt Lunky was a negro servant and resided in Jacksonville, 
Illinois. For several generations, she had lived with the same 
family and had been a party to aU household duties and functions 
during that period : she made her will, and her savings, some two 
hundred and fifty dollars, she left to "little Billie." "Little 
Billie" was the great-grandson of her employer, and the pet of the 
household : in order that there might be no mistake in identifying 
the legatee, a picture of the baby boy was securely attached to the 
testament. 

Will of the Duchesse de Pbaslin 

By her will made in 1784, this testatrix, strangely enough, disin- 
herited her own children, being falsely persuaded that her husband 
had substituted for them others whom he had had by an actress. 
She made her legatees the grandchildren of the Prince de Soubise, 
whom she did not even know. Her will was contested, and set 
aside. It contained another singular bequest — that by which 
she left to her husband a model of the Cheval de Bronze (the 
equestrian statue of Henri IV. on the Pont Neuf). 

Must ever Prat 

Not long ago an Italian nobleman left all his money, which 
amounted to about $50,000, to his wife, "to be disposed of accord- 
ing to her own ideas," provided she entered a religious order and 
spent the rest of her life praying for the repose of his soul. If she 
refused the conditions, the money went to the order direct, and she 
got nothing. 

The poor woman is now fighting the will in court, and there is 
said to be some prospect that the estate will be divided and one- 



82 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

half, or at least a life interest in the income, given to her. This, 
however, can be done only by compromise. 

The reason for this strange condition is said to have been 
revenge. The wife had a lover, and the husband did not discover 
the fact until during his last sickness, when she neglected previous 
precautions and he learned of her flirtations. The husband was 
also afraid that she would marry her lover, and is said to have told 
his lawyer that he would fix things so that the scoundrel could not 
have the benefit of his money, even if he did enjoy the affections 
of his wife. 

A Cold World 

Ellen H. Cooper, West Somerset Street, Philadelphia, died 
recently. Pathos and worldly wisdom are mingled in her will. 
She wrote the instrument with her own hand. It follows in part : 

"All the money and furniture I have has been saved through my 
earnings and hard work, therefore, I wish my two sons, John W. 
Cooper and Bernard M. Cooper, to follow to the letter my wishes. 

"My one real anxiety has been their future after my death. 
They cannot now realize what a lonely life theirs will be without 
home or parents, for I know, except one has money, there is no one 
to care what becomes of one. Therefore I have saved for one 
purpose, that if either, or both, live to be old and imable to work 
you m^y find a home and pay so much to be kept the rest of their 
lives. There will be enough left to clothe you. All I am pos- 
sessed of I want put out at interest. I do not want one cent of it 
spent otherwise, excepting what it takes to pay my funeral ex- 
penses. Remember, dear boys, this is a cold world and I would 
long since have been glad to lay down my burden had it not been 
for my love for you." 

Beautiful Sentiments to Wives 

As an expression of controlling impulses and ideas, the will has 
ever been associated with the home and family life. Some of the 
purest and sweetest sentiments of the human heart are often con- 
tained in these legal muniments. They are often the permanent 
repositories of the loftiest feelings of conjugal and domestic affec- 
tion. More than fifty per cent of the wills made bequeath the 
bulk of the estate, absolutely or for life, to the surviving spouse. 

A beautiful expression of this holy sentiment of affection is 
found in the will of John Starkey, probated in 1861. This testator 



ANCIENT, CUEIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 83 

says : "The remainder of my wealth is vested in the affection of 
my dear wife, with whom I leave it, in the good hope of resimiing 
it more pure, bright and precious, where neither moth nor rust doth 
corrupt, and where there are no railways or monetary panics or 
fluctuations of exchange, but steadfast, though progressive and 
unspeakable riches of glory and immortality." 

The following is another example of solicitude for a devoted 
wife. Sharon Turner, the eminent author of the "History of the 
Anglo-Saxons," dying in his eightieth year, in 1847, left this tes- 
timonial to his wife, who had died before him : "It is my comfort 
to have remembered that I have passed with her nearly forty -nine 
years of unabated affection and connubial happiness, and yet she 
is still living, as I earnestly hope and believe, under her Saviour's 
care, in a superior state of being." He was anxious that her 
portrait, which he directed should be painted and bequeathed, 
should correctly represent her. He then adds : "None of the por- 
traits of my beloved wife give any adequate representation of her 
beautiful face, nor of the sweet and intellectual and attractive 
appearance of her living features and general countenance and 
character." 

Kindness to Widows 

Testators in the present day frequently and ungallantly leave 
property to their widows only so long as they shall remain im- 
married. In looking through some of the wills of the time of 
Henry VII., we do not find such a condition attached. There are 
many instances to be found, however, of the husband's affectionate 
care for the future comfort of his wife. To quote two or three : 
First, from the will of William Parker : "Also I make Master 
John Aggecombe, Alderman of Oxford, my overseer, to se my last 
will performed ; and I geve to hym for his labour my best crymsyn 
gowne so that he be frendly to Alice my wife." In the will of 
Robert Offe, of Boston, Lincolnshire, after appointing Master 
Thomas Robynson and Master John Robynson overseers, he goes 
on to say : "And I beseche you, maisters both, that ye be good 
f rends unto my wyf, and that ye will help her." William Holy- 
brande, gentleman citizen and "tailler" of London, bequeaths to 
each of his executors, William Bodley and William Grove, for their 
labor, £5 sterling, and "to be goode and kynde to my wyfe." 
He appoints as overseer, "Robert Joyns, my cousin, one of the 
gentleman ushers of the chambre of our Sovaigne Lorde the 



84 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Kynge," and bequeaths to him £5 sterling "for his labour, and 
that he may help my wyfe in all her troubill, if any shall happen to 
her here after." He also gives and bequeaths "to Roger Delle, 
my servant, so that he be lovyng and gentill to my wyfe, and give 
a trewe accompte for such besynese as he hath reconyng of, £5 
sterlinge." These three wUls were all proved in 1505. 

Would not be Good 

In 1772, a gentleman of Surrey, England, died, and his will 
being opened was found to contain this peculiar clause, "Whereas, 

it was my misfortune to be made very uneasy by , my wife, 

for many years from our marriage, by her turbulent behavior, for 
she was not content to despise my admonitions, but she contrived 
every method to make me unhappy; she was so perverse in her 
nature that she would not be reclaimed, but seemed only to be 
born to be a plague to me ; the strength of Samson, the knowledge 
of Homer, the prudence of Augustus, the cunning of Pyrrhus, the 
patience of Job, the subtlety of Hannibal and the watchfulness of 
Hermogenes could not have been sufficient to subdue her ; for no 
skill or force in the world would make her good ; and as we have 
lived separate and apart from each other for eight years, and, she 
having perverted her son to leave and totally abandon me, there- 
fore, I give her a shilling." 

Must bemain at Home 

The last will and testament of Lawrence Engler was admitted 
to probate September 19, 1910, at Columbus, Ohio. It disposes 
of an estate valued at $10,000. He was killed in a recent wreck 
on the Hocking Valley Railroad near Toledo. 

He provides in his will that his widow and their children be given 
the proceeds resulting from the rent of his property and that they 
all must remain at home. When they leave, they forfeit all rights 
to the income. 

So long as they live together they are to share the income, but 
when one leaves he loses his interest. 

This arrangement is to remain during the life of all, but no pro- 
vision is made for the disposal of the remainder. 

The will is peculiar in another way. The testator, after its 
execution, took the liberty of striking out some of the provisions 



ANCIENT, CUBIOliS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 85 

without having the amendments witnessed. He failed to make a 
codicil, but does say that he did the scratching himself. 

Danger m Mutual Wills 

The wills of Mrs. Mary Louise Woeltge and Professor Albert 
Woeltge were filed in the Probate Court at Stamford, Connecticut, 
on September 20, 1910, and they reveal a somewhat unusual situa- 
tion. Professor Woeltge was the first to pass away at Walpole, 
New Hampshire, on September 12th. His wife died there a day 
later. Both left wills executed April 11, 1895. Professor Woeltge 
left all his estate to his wife and appointed her sole executrix. 
Mrs. Woeltge by her will left all her property to her husband. 

Professor Woeltge inserted a clause by way of explanation to his 
nephew, Albert A. Woeltge, and his niece, Lillie Woeltge, both of 
New York, of this disposition of the estate. It was, in eflFect, that 
the money by which he acquired the property disposed of in the 
will came most, if not all of it, from his wife or her mother. 

Professor Woeltge left two letters, one addressed to his wife 
and the other to his niece and nephew. The letter to his wife 
carried a direct expression of desire that on her death all the 
money he left her go to the children of his brother William, 
"that they might know that I loved them best after you." The 
question arises as to who will get the property. 

The Wobst op Women 

Henry, Earl of Stafford, who followed the fortunes of his royal 
master James II., and attended him in his exile to France, married 
there the daughter of the Due de Grammont, at the end of the 
seventeenth century. The marriage was a most unhappy one, and, 
after fourteen years' endurance of the disgraceful conduct of his 
wife, he wrote as follows in his will : 

"To the worst of women, Claude Charlotte de Grammont, 
unfortunately my wife, guilty as she is of all crimes, I leave five- 
and-forty brass halfpence, which will buy a pullet for her supper. 
A better gift than her father can make her ; for I have known when, 
having not the money, neither had he the credit for such a pur- 
chase ; he being the worst of men, and his wife the worst of women, 
in all debaucheries. Had I known their characters I had never 
married their daughter, and made myself unhappy." 



86 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 



Took the Son's Part 

Sir Robert Bevill, Knight, who held an official position at court 
under James I., was the representative of an old Hunts family, 
and held by entail the estates of Chesterton in that county. Dying 
in 1635, his wiU, which it appears was made within a very short 
time of his death, was proved, and in it occur the following clauses 
relative to his wife and his daughter's husband, with whom he 
died at enmity. These vindictive behests, be it observed, are pre- 
ceded by a very devout and godly preface, bequeathing his soul 
"into the hands of its Maker, stedfastly believing in, and by the 
merits of, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, to obteyne free par- 
don and forgiveness of al my sinnes, and at the last day to have and 
receive a glorious resurrection." 

Immediately follows: "I give and bequeath to my son-in-law. 
Sir John Hewell, Baronet, tenn shillings and noe more, in respect 
he stroke and ceaselessly fought with mee. 

"Item: I give unto my wyfe tenn shiUings in respect she took 
her sonnes part against me, and did anymate and comfort him 
afterwards. These will not be forgotten." Furthermore, the tes- 
tator, in resentment against his said wife — "inasmuch as she hath 
not only deserted mee, but hath taken into her own possession all 
her own goods, and hath disposed of them at her own pleasure " 
— declares his determination "to make no ampler provision for 
her." 

He concludes this vindictive will by leaving all his large estates 
to his second son. 

This will is not exactly of the class alluded to by Steele in one 
of his plays, where he makes one of the characters, a widow, remark, 
"There is no will of an husband so cheerfully obeyed as his last." 

Accused op every Chime 

John Parker, a bookseller, Kving in Old Bond Street, served his 
wife in the following manner, leaving her no more than fifty pounds, 
and in the following words : 

"To one Elizabeth Parker, whom through fondness I made my 
wife, without regard to family, fame, or fortune, and who in return 
has not spared most unjustly to accuse me of every crime regarding 
human nature, except highway robbery, I bequeath the sum of 
fifty pounds." 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS. AND FAMOUS WILLS 87 



Between the Lines 

A rich man, making his will, left legacies to all his servants ex- 
cept his steward, to whom he gave nothing, on the plea that, "hav- 
ing been in my service in that capacity twenty years I have too high 
an opinion of his shrewdness to suppose he has not sufficiently en- 
riched himself." 

Menial Service Required 

A year or two ago, a Russian gentleman, living at Odessa, be- 
queathed four million roubles to his four nieces, but they were to 
receive the money only after having worked for a year as washer- 
women, chambermaids or farm servants. These conditions were 
carried out, and while occupying such humble positions, it is gratify- 
ing to learn that they received over eight hundred and sixty oflfers 
of marriage. 

No Mustaches 

The will of Mr. Henry Budd, which came into force in 1862, 
declared against the wearing of mustaches by his sons, in the follow- 
ing terms: "In case my son Edward shall wear mustaches, then 
the devise hereinbefore contained in favour of him, his appointees, 
heirs, and assigns of my said estate called Pepper Park, shall be 
void; and I devise the same estate to my son WiUiam, his ap- 
pointees, heirs, and assigns. And in case my said son WiUiam shall 
wear mustaches, then the devise hereinbefore contained in favour of 
him, his appointees, heirs, and assigns of my said estate called 
Twickenham Park, shall be void ; and I devise the said estate to my 
said son Edward, his appointees, heirs, and assigns." 



Will of William Ptm 

The will of Wilham Pym, of Woolavington, Somerset, gent., is 
worth citing for its originahty. It bears date January 10, 1608. 

After various charitable bequests, the last of which specifies the 
sum of twelvepence to the church at Wells, he proceeds : 

" I give to Agnes, which I did a long time take for my wyfe — 
till shee denyd me to be her husband, all though wee were marryd 
with my friends' consent, her father, mother, and uncle at it ; and 
now she swareth she will neither love mee nor evyr bee perswaded 
to, by preechers, nor by any other, which hath happened within 



88 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

these few yeres. And Toby Andrewes, the beginner, which I did 
see with mine own eyes when hee did more than was fitting, and 
this by means of others their abettors. I have lived a miserable 
life this six or seven yeres, and now I leve the revenge to God — 
and tenn pounds to buy her a gret horse, for I could not this manny 
yeres plese her with one gret enough." 

Two years after writing this bitter record of his wrongs, WilUam 
Pym, gent., gave up the ghost, and his last wishes were faithfully 
carried out by his two executors. 

CONTEAKT TO RoOSEVELT's IdEA 

The malevolence of some men is manifested in their deaths, as 
weU as in their lives. A certain wealthy man left this provision 
in his will: "Should my daughter marry and be afflicted with 
children, the trustees are to pay out of said legacy. Ten Thousand 

Dollars on the birth of the first child, to the Hospital ; 

Twenty Thousand Dollars, on the second ; Thirty Thousand Dol- 
lars, on the third ; and an additional Ten Thousand Dollars on the 
birth of each fresh child, till the One Hundred and Fifty Thousand 
Dollars is exhausted. Should any portion of this sum be left at the 
end of twenty years, the balance is to be paid to her to use as she 
thinks fit." This item would, no doubt, interest our late President, 
Theodore Roosevelt. 

Wife's Desertion Rewarded 

A certain Glasgow doctor died some ten years ago, and left his 
whole estate to his sisters. In his will appeared this unusual 
clause: "To my wife, as a recompense for deserting me and 
leaving me in peace, I expect the said sister, Elizabeth, to make her 
a gift of ten shilHngs sterling, to buy her a pocket handkerchief to 
■weep after my decease." 

WOITLD NOT WEAR THE CaP 

A husband left his wife sixty thousand doUars, to be increased 
to one hundred and twenty thousand dollars, provided she wore 
a widow's cap after his death. She accepted the larger amount, 
wore the cap for six months, and then put it off. A lawsuit fol- 
lowed, but the judge gave the widow a judgment and stated that 
the word "always" should have been inserted. Shortly after 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 89 

the rendition of the judgment, the widow entered into the state 
of matrimony. 

Steange Requieement as to Marriage 

In 1805, Mr. Edward Hurst left a very large fortune to his only 
son on condition that the latter should seek out and marry a young 
lady, whom the father, according to his own statement, had, by 
acts for which he prayed forgiveness, reduced to the extremity of 
poverty ; or failing her, her nearest unmarried female heir. The 
latter, by the irony of fate, turned out to be a spinster of fifty-five, 
who, professing herself willing to carry out her share of the imposed 
duty, was duly united to the young man, who had just reached his 
majority. 

A Happy Wife 

Many wills have reference to the domestic felicity, or otherwise, 
experienced by those who executed them. As an example of the 
former, we may give the following passage from the testament of 
Lady Palmerston, an ancestress of the celebrated Premier. Refer- 
ring to her husband, she says, "As I have long given you my heart 
and tenderest affections and fondest wishes have always been 
yours, so is everything else that I possess ; and all that I can call 
mine being already yours, I have nothing to give but my heartiest 
thanks for the care and kindness you have at all times shown me, 
either in sickness or in health, for which God Almighty will, I hope, 
reward you in a better world." Then, for "form's sake," follow 
several specific bequests. 

Must walk Barefooted 

A wife who domineers over her husband sometimes discovers that 
she has made a serious mistake. Ten years ago the London (Eng- 
land) newspapers reported that a publican (housekeeper) took a curi- 
ous revenge on a nagging wife, whose sharp tongue had given him 
many bad days while he lived. When his will was read, she learned 
that in order to receive any property she must walk barefooted to the 
market-place each time the anniversary of his death came around. 
Holding a candle in her hand, she was there to read a paper confess- 
ing her unseemly behavior to her husband while he hved, and stat- 
ing that had her tongue been shorter, her husband's days would 
probably have been longer. By refusing to comply with these 



90 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

terms she had to be satisfied with "twenty pounds a year to keep 
her. off the parish." 

Anticipating the Past 

It was Mrs. Malaprop in Sheridan's dehghtful comedy, "The 
Rivals," who declined to "anticipate the past." 

Mr. John B. Luther, whose will is given below, certainly had the 
past in mind when the instrument was drawn ; it seems clear that 
he desired to "anticipate the past" in so far as a provision for for- 
gotten widows and children was concerned. The testator formerly 
lived in Fall River, Massachusetts, but his will was probated in 
San Francisco ; he left an estate valued at more than $100,000. 

"I do hereby declare that I am not married and that I have no 
children. I have noticed, however, the facility with which sworn 
testimony can be procured and produced in support of the claims of 
alleged widows and adopted children, and the frequent recurrence 
of such claims in recent years. I therefore make express provision 
in this my last will as follows : I give and bequeath to such person 
as shall be found, proved, and established to be my surviving wife or 
widow, whether the marriage be found to have taken place before 
or after the execution of this will, the sum of $5, and to each and 
every person who shall be found, proved, and established to be my 
child by birth, adoption, acknowledgment, or otherwise, and whether 
before or after the execution of this will, the sum of $5, and I 
declare that I do intentionally omit to make for any of the persons 
in this paragraph referred to any other or further provision." 



ANIMALS 

"End hearts are more than coronets. 
And simple faith than Norman blood." 

Lower Animals have Souls 

The Peoples Pulpit, a publication issued by the "Brooklyn 
Tabernacle," in a recent issue under the title, "What is a Soul ? " 
says: 

"Thus we see why it is that the Scriptures speak of 
'souls' in connection with the lower animals. They, as well 
as man, are sentient beings or creatures of intelligence, only 
of lower orders. They, as well as man, can see, hear, feel, 
taste and smell; and each can reason up to the standard of 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 91 

his own organism, though none can reason as abstrusely nor on as 
high a plane as man. This difiFerence is not because man has a 
different kind of life from that possessed by the lower animals ; for 
all have similar vital forces, from the same fountain or source of 
Kfe, the same Creator ; all sustain hfe in the same manner, by the 
digestion of similar foods, producing blood, and muscles, and bones, 
etc., each according to his kind or nature ; and each propagates his 
species similarly, bestowing the life, originally from God, upon his 
posterity. They differ in shape and in mental capacity. 

" Nor can it be said that while man is a soul (or intelUgent being) 
beasts are without this soul-quahty or intelligence, thought, feehng. 
On the contrary, both man and beast have soul-quality or jnteUigent, 
conscious being. Not only is this the statement of Scripture, but it 
is readily discernible as a fact, as soon as the real meaning of the word 
* soul ' is comprehended, as shown in the foregoing. To illustrate : 
Suppose the creation of a perfect dog ; and suppose that creation 
had been particularly described, as was Adam's, what difference of 
detail could be imagined ? The body of a dog created would not be 
a dog until the breath of Kfe would be caused to energize that body ; 
then it would be a living creature with sensibilities and powers 
all its own — a living soul of the lower order, called dog, as Adam, 
when he received life, became a living creature with sensibiKties 
and powers all his own — a Uving soul of the highest order of 
flesh beings, called man." 

A Heaven fob Beasts 

Bishop Butler and Theodore Parker offered the suggestion that 
there is a future for beasts, and a poem has been dedicated "To my 
Pony in Heaven," by Mr. Sewell of Exeter College. 

Goldfish and Flowers 

A certain lady left seventy pounds a year for the maintenance of 
three goldfish, which were to be identified as follows: "one is 
bigger than the other two, and these latter are to be easily recog- 
nized, as one is fat and the other lean." She also made provision 
for flowers to be placed upon the graves of the gold fish. 

Bequest to a Fish 

We have heard of lucky dogs often enough — instances of lucky 
fish are more rare, yet we can tell of two carps who have been testa- 



92 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

mentarily benefited. One is, or rather was, too well known to the 
tourist who has seen Fontainebleau, to need more than a passing 
mention, as he only paid the debt of nature a few years ago, hav- 
ing occupied the royal pond, it is said, more than a century, prob- 
ably in order to bear out the proverb which gives long lives to annu- 
itants ; the other was the mute but valued friend of the Count of 
Mirandola, who had been in his intimacy since 1805, dwelling in an 
elegant antique piscina, shaded by tropical plants, in an oriel of his 
scdon at Lucca, where he was still hving as late as 1835, and may be 
there still. The count, dying in 1825, left him a handsome annuity, 
with special directions for his treatment. 

Beqtjest to a Pabkot 

A rich and eccentric widow, whose will was proved in London 
some years ago, left at her death a parrot, whom, "having been her 
faithful companion for 24 years," she left in charge of an appointee, 
with an annuity of one hundred guineas, the existence and identity 
of the bird to be proved twice a year, and all payments to be 
withheld from the moment the feathered pensioner ceased to be 
produced. 

Polly wants a Contest 

In July last, at Washington, D.C., a will contest was commenced, 
which involves the Ufe or death of a parrot. 

It appears Mrs. Ottilie Stock left a will, by the terms of which 
her parrot was doomed to Oslerization by the process of chloroform. 
Her daughter, Elizabeth Stock, questioned the vaHdity of the will. 
It seems that Elizabeth was left one dollar in money, two kitchen 
chairs, two pails and one broom ; hence, the will contest. 

Mrs. Stock, the testatrix, was the mother of one of the men who 
went to his death on the ill-fated battleship Maine, in the harbor 
of Havana. 

What behavior induced the death sentence on Polly, is not 
known. 

Will of Mes. Elizabeth Hunteb 

This lady, a resident of London, having for many years enjoyed 
the society of a pet parrot, and being anxious as to the fate of her 
favorite after her death, bequeathed an annuity of £200, to be 
paid quarterly, so long as the parrot should live and its identity be 
satisfactorily proved. This annuity of £50 quarterly was left in 
the first instance to Mrs. Mary Dyer, of Park Street, Westminster, 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 93 

with a proviso that should that trustee die before the parrot, the 
sum should continue to be paid to some "respectable female who 
should not be a servant." One would think the testatrix must 
have had in her mind the story of Gay's cat — "Nor cruel Tom nor 
Susan heard ! " Moreover, it was to dwell in a cage that was to 
cost not less than £20, and which was to be "high, long, large and 
roomy"; the bird also was "not to be taken out of England." 
This will was probated in 1813. 

A Caged Annuitant 

An elderly spinster, by name Carohne Hunter, wishing to pro- 
vide for a favorite parrot, bequeathed the bird with a legacy of 
one thousand pounds to a widow, a friend of hers, giving her power 
to transfer both the pet and the money to any third person, pro- 
vided it were to one of the female sex, who would undertake not 
to leave England. There was a special bequest of twenty guineas 
to provide a very high and handsome cage, into which the parrot 
was to be removed, and the executors were charged, in the event of 
the charge and bequest being refused by the widow, to see that the 
parrot was committed to the care of some trustworthy, respectable 
person. The will concludes : "I will and desire that whoever at- 
tempts to dispute this my last will and testament, or by any means 
tries to frustrate these my intentions, shall forfeit whatever I have 
left him, her, or them. And if any one to whom I have left legacies 
attempt to bring any bill or charge against me, it is my will and 
desire they shall forfeit whatever legacy I may have left them. I 
owe nothing to any one — many owe me gratitude and money, but 
none have paid me either." 

HOBSES TO BE ShOT 

Frederick Christian Winslow was born in 1752 ; he was Council- 
lor of State, professor of surgery, and knight of the order of Dane- 
brog. His works on surgery have been translated into almost all 
the languages of Europe. He was grand-nephew of the celebrated 
anatomist, James Benignus Winslow. He died at Copenhagen, 
June 24, 1811. 

His will disposes of property amounting to 37,000 crowns, but 
contains only one clause which can be considered singular, viz. : 
that which orders that his carriage-horses should be shot, lest 
after his death they come to be ill-treated by any person who might 
buy them. 



94 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Will in Favob of a Hokse 

Among the archives of Toulouse exists the registry of a singular 
will, made by a countryman of the immediate environs in 1781. 
This peasant, who was the owner of a considerable sum of money, 
besides his house and the land surrounding it, had no children, but 
had attached himself to a horse he always rode, though it does not 
seem to have been particularly comely in appearance. His affec- 
tion for this animal was very constant ; for, finding himself seri- 
ously ill, and having decided on making his will, he disposed of 
all his property in favor of the four-footed favorite in these terms : 
"I declare that I appoint my russet cob my imiversal heir, and I 
desire that he may belong to my nephew George." 

As may be supposed, the will was contested ; but, strange to say, 
it was ultimately confirmed. An experienced jurisconsult, by 
name Claude Serres, professor of "droit civil" at Montpellier, has 
cited the case, and gives the reason for the decision arrived at, 
viz. : "That the will being pronounced valid, the succession of the 
testator was adjudicated to the nephew whom he had designated 
as proprietor of the horse, because it was ruled that the simplicity 
of the rustic should secure to him the execution of his last will, 
and that, having named his nephew as legatee of the horse, he 
intended he should have it endowed with the bequests he had 
bestowed upon it." 

HoBBEs AS Legatees 

A curious wiU contest was instituted in January, 1911, in the 
Hungarian courts. This contest turns upon the legality of the will 
of an eccentric nobleman, Enule von Bizony, brother of a well- 
known deputy, who left all his real and personal property, amount- 
ing to about $200,000, to be used in behalf of his twelve draught 
horses. 

As executor of his will, he named the Society for the Protection 
of Animals at Budapest, stipulating that the interest on his estate 
should be devoted to the care of his twelve draught horses, and 
that upon the death of one of them another aged horse was to be 
taken in and cared for, so that the number of twelve might always 
be maintained. 

Herr von Bizony was sixty-five years of age, a confirmed misogy- 
nist, and at odds with all his relatives, who were naturally amazed 
at the contents of the will. His brother, the Deputy, Herr Alusins 
von Bizony, disputed the will. Negotiations were made with the 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 95 

above-mentioned society, and $20,000 was offered it, but refused, 
the society bringing an action against the Bizony family for the 
retention of the property. 

Two Thousand DotLAHs fok a Horse 

An Irishman, James Gilwee, died in 1907 in Carondelet, a sub- 
division of the city of Saint Louis : by his will, filed in the Probate 
Court of the city of Saint Louis, he left two thousand dollars in 
trust, the revenue from which was to be used in the support and 
comfort of a favorite horse, "Tony" : the children of the deceased 
carefully respected the wishes of their father, and the horse was 
shipped to Bloomington, Illinois, where corn is plentiful and 
meadow grass is blue, and the horse received every attention until 
his death, which occurred quite recently. The two thousand 
dollars was thereupon divided between the heirs. 

Domestic Pets 

Mrs. Elizabeth Balls, late of Park Lodge, Streatham, England, 
whose will was proved on the 5th of November, 1875, bequeathed 
to the Cancer Hospital, £2,000 Consols ; to the Institution for 
the Deaf and Dumb, Old Kent Road, £1000 Consols ; to the Blind 
Schools, Southwark, a like sum ; to the Idiots' Asylum, Earlswood, 
£500 Consols ; and to Guy's and St. Thomas's hospitals, the like 
sum each. She directed that her late husband's cob mare and 
greyhound should not be sold, but that the former should be kept 
in a comfortable, warm, loose box, as she had been kept since her 
late master's death ; that she should not be put to work either in 
or out of harness, and that her back should not be crossed by any 
member of her late husband's family, but that she should be ridden 
by a person of light weight, not above four days a week, and not 
more than one hour each day, at a walking pace. For the support 
of this mare Mrs. Balls left £65 per annum, and for the keep and 
care of the greyhound £5 per annum. 

Bank Stock fok a Dog 

The late Mrs. T. P. Roe, of Canada, bequeathed to her little dog. 
Frolic, the interest on four shares of Montreal Bank stock for use 
during his lifetime, and at his death the same was to be sold and 
given to the Church of St. John the Evangelist. 



96 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Dog painted by Landseeb 

For his faithful companion Pincher, Lord Eldon in 1838 made a 
testamentary provision, bequeathing him to Lady Frances Bankes, 
with an annuity of eight pounds during the term of his natural 
life, for his maintenance. 

"His attachment to this animal," says Lord Campbell, "was 
very affecting. He used to say while he caressed him : ' Poor 
Pincher belonged to poor William Henry, and after I took the 
Sacrament with him when he was dying, he called me back as I was 
leaving the room and said: "Father, you will take care of poor 
Pincher." 

"'The dog was brought home to me when all was over, and in 
a short time he was missed ; he was immediately sought for, and 
it was found he had gone back and was lying on the bed beside his 
dead master.' He had another story about this dog which was 
decoyed away by a dog-stealer, and recovered by the Ex-Chancellor 
compounding felony with the thief. On receiving a letter signed, 
'An Amateur Dog-fancier,' a negotiation was opened which led 
to Lord Eldon sending a servant with a five-pound note to a house 
in Cow Cross Street, where Pincher was found. The man being 
dealt with 'on honour,' freely disclosed the secrets of his trade, and. 
in answer to a gentle reproach, replied : 'Why, what can we do ? 
Now that Parliament has stopped our trade in procuring bodies 
for the surgeons, we are obliged to turn to this to get an honest 
livelihood.' 

"Pincher is introduced into several portraits of his master, who 
said : ' Poor fellow ! he has a right to be painted with me, for when 
my man Smith took him the other day to a law bookseller's, where 
there happened to be several lawyers, they all received him with 
great respect, and the master of the shop exclaimed : "How very 
like he is to old Eldon, particularly when he wore a wig ! — but, 
indeed, many people say he is the handsomer chap of the two.' " 

"After Lord Eldon's death, Pincher was painted by that con- 
summate judge of the canine race. Sir Edwin Landseer, who re- 
marked of him : 'He is a very picturesque old dog, with a wonderful 
look of cleverness in his face.' He has represented him listening 
to the ticking of a watch given to the Chancellor by George III." 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 97 

A Dog's Hospitaii 

An old lady who died in Paris in December, 1876, left a singular 
legacy to the city of Marseilles, being 85,000 francs, for the purpose 
of founding within its precincts an hospital — "pour les chiens et 
les chevaux malheureux." M. Mertin, a notary of Paris, it was 
who received the will of Madame Veuve Perren, n&e Enouf, and 
who communicated its dispositions to M. Maglione, mayor of 
Marseilles. 

Chlobofobm and Water for Animals 

There is on file in the city of Saint Louis, Missouri, the will of 
Phoebe Deliah Nye, which contains, among others, these items : 

"Item : I direct my Executor, immediately upon taking charge 
of my estate, to end the life of my faithful dog, Lily, by the appli- 
cation of chloroform, it being my desire to spare her from ending 
her days without that care which she would receive if I were living. 

"Item: I direct my Trustee to establish, erect and maintain in 
various parts of the City of Saint Louis, Drinking Fountains and 
Places where both man and beast may at all times, both day and 
night, have fresh water to drink; convenient of access to all and 
free from any expense to them. 

" It is my will and I direct that each and every one of such drink- 
ing places shall be so arranged that dogs and cats may drink, and 
that they may be permitted to do so freely ; such drinking places 
are to be selected where they will be most needed and be most 
useful and in as many different places as possible, and particu- 
larly in the more congested and more frequented portions of the 
city. 

"Item: I authorize and empower my Trustee to expend one- 
half of the Corpus and all of the net revenue from my estate in the 
establishing, erecting, and maintaining of the drinking places. 

"Item: I authorize and empower my Trustee to employ such 
persons as in its judgment may be necessary to maintain and look 
after these drinking places at an expense not to exceed one-fourth 
of the net income and revenue from the trust estate ; and to carry 
out my intent, my Trustee is authorized to purchase or to lease 
sufficient ground, upon which to establish such drinking places, 
and to accept donations and gifts of property, real and personal, 
to be added to the trust fimd to be used in the same way and for 
the same purposes." 



98 ANCIENT, CUEIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Chbonometehs and Dogs 

Sir James South, the astronomer, by his will, which was proved 
in 1868, gave a pocket-chronometer each to the Earl of Shaftes- 
bury, the Earl of Rosse, and Mr. A. J. Stephens, the condition in 
each case being that the chronometer should be carried in the 
pantaloon pocket of the wearer, according to the habit of the 
testator. Sir James South also left £30 a year to one of his female 
servants during the lifetime of a favorite terrier named "Tiger" ; 
and this animal was produced in the Equity Court in 1872, when 
a question arose as to its existence. On behalf of the dog or its 
keeper, it was asked that a siun of £1000 Consols should be set 
apart to meet the annuity, but the Vice-Chancellor held that the 
rules of the court, which applied to human beings, did not extend 
to dogs, and said that the executor's personal undertaking for the 
rest of the dog's life would be sufficient. 

A LOVEK OF THE CaNINE RaCE 

In the Gazetta del Popolo of Turin, of September 2, 1874, is found 
the following: 

"Last week was opened by Zanini, the notary public, the will 
of a certain L. C, who, after having made a considerable fortune 
by means of the journal, the Caroccio, disposed of it in the following 
manner : 

" ' I leave to the municipality of Casale an annuity of 1500 lire 
from the public debt, to be employed in rescuing all the dogs that 
shall fall into the hands of the civic dog-seizer (accalappiatore). 

" ' I leave to my dog Schmid a rent from the public funds of 500 
lire annually, to revert after his death to the foundlings of the 
city.' " 

LucKT Dogs 

Many valuable bequests have been made to dogs, and other 
domestic pets. Dr. Christiano, of Venice, left sixty thousand 
florins for the maintenance of his three dogs, with a condition that, 
at their death, the sum should be added to the fimds of the Uni- 
versity of Vienna. 

Sambo and Romp 

A Mr. Thomas Edmett, an Englishman, died in October, 1871, 
having by a codicil to his will, made in 1861, bequeathed as fol- 
lows: "I bequeath to my faithfid servant Elizabeth Osborne, on 



ANdlENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 99 

condition that she take care of my favorite dog, an annuity of 
£50 for her life, to be paid to her quarterly." The annuity was 
given to her for her separate use, Avith a restraint on anticipation. 
The testator had at the time of making his will a favorite dog 
named Romp, which died before him. He, however, subsequently 
had another favorite dog called Sambo, which was in his posses- 
sion at the time of his death. Elizabeth Osborne had taken care 
of Sambo as well as Romp. She claimed to be entitled to the 
annuity of £50 discharged from the condition of taking care of 
the dog. 

The Vice-Chancellor held that Elizabeth Osborne was entitled 
to the annuity of £50 for her life. He hoped she would take care 
of Sambo, but he should not make the annuity contingent on her 
doing so. 

Dog Saved his Life 

A singular will was that of Mr. Berkeley, an Englishman of 
fortune, who died on the 5th May, 1805, at Knightsbridge. By 
this instrument he left a pension of twenty-five pounds to four 
of his dogs, having a particular afiPection for animals. Some 
one having observed to him that a portion of the sums he spent 
on them would be better employed in relieving his fellow-men, 
he replied, "Men have attempted my life, whereas it was to a dog 
that I own that I am alive." 

And, indeed, it appeared that during a journey through France 
and Italy this gentleman, being attacked by brigands, had been 
protected and saved by his dog; the four animals he pensioned 
by his will were the descendants of this faithful and serviceable 
friend. His steward was charged to spend the whole amoimt on 
the dogs and to reserve nothing for himself; and the testator 
entered into the most minute particulars as to its expenditure. 
Feeling his end near, Mr. Berkeley desired that two arm chairs 
might be brought to his bedside, and his four dogs seated on them, , 
received their last caresses, which he returned with the best of his 
failing strength, and died in their paws. 

By an article in his will he ordered that the busts of his four dogs, 
descendants of the dog who saved his life, should be carved in 
stone and placed at the four comers of his tomb. 



100 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 



A Wealthy Cat 



t 



vin 1892 a Paris lady left ten thousand francs to her cat. On its 
death, the money was to be spent on elementary schools . Recently, 
the death of the cat caused the money to divert to the district 
governing body for this purpose. 

Cat, named in Will, Dead 

In the will of Mrs. Sarah Titus Zabriskie, filed for probate at 
Newport early in September, 1910, provision was made for 
"Whiskers," a cat that had been Mrs. Zabriskie's pet for many 
years. It was provided that if Mrs. Zabriskie's daughter, who 
was chief beneficiary, died before "Whiskers" passed away, the cat 
was to be put to death painlessly by Dr. Thomas G. Sherwood, 
a veterinarian, of No. 107 West Thirty-seventh Street, New York. 

Dr. Sherwood was not called upon, however. The animal was 
chloroformed a month before the will was filed. It appears "Whis- 
kers " suffered from an incurable disease, contracted in earlier 
and happier years, and predeceased his mistress. 

Cat and Dog Monet 

In a certain county in England, there is what is known as "cat 
and dog " money given to the poor, but which, in the first instance, 
was left for the support of cats and dogs. Then, too, there are the 
cow and bull benefactions in several English parishes, which have 
been left to provide cattle whose milk would go to the poor. 

A Cat Menu 

A remarkable will was that of a famous harpist of the seventeenth 
century, by name Madame Dupuis. So eccentric indeed was it 
considered that it gave occasion to a cause cSlebre, and has been 
mentioned by various contemporary writers — among others, 
by Moncriff, by Mercier St. Leger and by Bayle. This testatrix 
died in 1677, and, if a rambling style of writing be any test of in- 
sanity, this lady ought assuredly to have been placed in durance. 
The document abounds in violent expressions and unchastened 
invective; while the singular mode of applying the very large 
property she has at her disposal, the vindictive retributions she 
conjures, and the exclamations and apostrophes into which she 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS W^J^S .1^ 

bursts at intervals, culminate in the final clause, which wdv^]^slate 
faithfully as follows : 

"Item: I desire my sister, Marie Bluteau, and my niece, 
Madame Calonge, to look to my cats. If both should survive me, 
thirty sous a week must be laid out upon them, in order that they 
may live well. 

"They are to be served daily, in a clean and proper manner, 
with two meals of meat-soup, the same as we eat ourselves, but it 
is to be given them separately in two soup-plates. The bread is 
not to be cut up into the soup, but must be broken into squares 
about the size of a nut, otherwise they will refuse to eat it. A 
ration of meat, finely minced, is to be added to it; the whole is 
then to be mildly seasoned, put into a clean pan, covered close, 
and carefully simmered before it is dished up. If only one cat 
should survive, half the siun mentioned will suffice. 

"Nicole-Pigeon is to take charge of my two cats, and to be very 
careful of them. Madame Calonge is to visit them three times 
a week." 

A Cats' Homb 

A Mr. Jonathan Jackson, of Coliunbus, Ohio, died some thirty 
years ago, leaving orders to his executors to erect a cats' home, the 
plans and elevation of which he had drawn out with great care and 
thought. The building was to contain dormitories, a refectory, 
areas for conversation, grounds for exercise, and gently sloping 
roofs for climbing, with rat-holes for sport, an "auditorium " 
within which the inmates were to be assembled daily to listen to an 
accordion, which was to be played for an hour each day by an 
attendant, that instrument being the nearest approach to their 
natural voices. An infirmary, to which were to be attached a 
surgeon and three or four professed nurses, was to adjoin the 
establishment. 

No mention seems to have been made of a chapel or a chaplain ! 

The testator gives as his reason for thus disposing of his prop- 
erty that " it is man's duty as lord of animals to watch over and 
protect the lesser and feebler, even as God watches over and pro- 
tects man." 

He does not, however, explain how it happens that on this prin- 
ciple he does not consider it his duty to p^rotect rats from the " sport- 
ing" propensities of cats. 



102 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Lord Chesterfield's Cat 

Lord Chesterfield left a sum for the support of his favorite 
cat, so also did one Frederic Harper, who settled one hundred 
pounds, invested in three per cent annuities, on his "young 
black cat" ; the interest to be paid to his housekeeper, Mrs. Hodges, 
as long as the cat should remain alive. It does not appear how 
he provided against the substitution of any supposititious black 
cat for his favorite, should she have died whether of neglect or 
otherwise. 

A Premtum on Pigmanship 

A wealthy tradesman, M. Thomas Heviant, died at the village 
of Cr6ne-sur-Marne in 1878. In his will he made a number of 
singular bequests, among which was the following, which is 
carried out at the annual ffete of the village. He ordered that 
among the amusements should be instituted a race with pigs, the 
animals to be ridden either by men or boys. The smn of 2000 
francs was set apart as the prize to the lucky rider of the 
winning pig. The prize was not to be handed over, however, 
except on the condition that the winner wore deep mourning for 
the deceased during two years after the competition. The munici- 
pality accepted the eccentric bequest, and these singular races 
have been held agreeably to the terms of the will. 

3 

CHARITY 

"... Faith, hope, charity, these three ; but the greatest of these is charity." 

A Perpetuity Involved 

A certain gentleman of New York named Marshall had 
acquired a large fortune in the manufacture of cotton goods. 
The Lord had smiled upon him, and his wealth consequently 
loomed up in large proportions. He was justly proud of his ma- 
terial success, and, being childless and without kin on this side of 
the ocean, he resolved to perpetuate his name and commemorate 
that liberality towards charitable and religious objects, for which 
he had always been remarkable. His plan was to have his execu- 
tors carry on his manufacturing business for the benefit of religious 
and charitable corporations. He left his manufacturing establish- 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 103 

ment to his executors in trust to carry on the same and divide the 
profits in certain proportions between the American Tract Society, 
the American Home Missionary Society and the American Bible 
Society, and the Marshall Infirmary, the latter being a hospital 
which he had founded. The court held, however, that there 
was a perpetuity involved, and directed that the estate be divided 
between the next of kin. The court held that the business of such 
religious societies was the printing of tracts and Bibles, and not 
the manufacture of cotton cloths. It took eight years and cost 
$50,000 to establish the legal meaning of the will, which was a 
very different meaning from that which the testator intended. 

Wise Will of Peter Bxtrns 

For years to come some families of Clay County, Missouri, will 
have occasion to remember with gratitude the wise philanthropy 
of a sturdy pioneer, Peter B. Burns of Liberty, who died in July, 
1910 ; the terms of his will have just been made public. On the 
death of the widow half the estate, which is valued at more than 
$40,000, is to go to Clay County to be administered by the County 
Court in loans, which are not to exceed $2000 to a single individual 
and to bear two per cent interest ; are to be secured by a mortgage 
on the real estate ; and are to be paid off at the rate of at least $100 
a year. Thus ten families at a time will constantly be given a lift 
toward financial independence. 

The plan is based on the sensible principle of helping men to help 
themselves. As the help is in the shape of a loan, to be repaid, it 
will pauperize no one. It will go to families of small means, and 
it will provide an incentive to people to save enough to take advan- 
tage of the assistance offered. 

No Study befobe Breakfast 

Countess Anna Maria Helena de Nouilles, a member of one of 
the historic families of France, has made a curious will which was 
proved in July, 1910. 

She left her estate at Meads, Eastbourne, England, to foxmd 
"St. Mary's Orphanage," laying down the following rules for the 
education of the girls : 

"No competitive examinations, no study before breakfast, no 
study after 6 p.m., all lessons to be learned in the morning, no girl 
to work more than four and a half hours daily. No arithmetic. 



104 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

except the multiplication table for children under ten. No child 
with curvature of the spine to write more than five minutes a day, 
until thirteen. Eaeh girl must be certified by two phrenologists 
as not deficient in conscientiousness and firmness. No child to be 
vaccinated." 

Weary of Reading the Will 

Nearly a hundred years ago, the Reverend Dr. Van Bunschooten 
departed this life and entered upon his reward : by his last will 
and testament, he left a legacy of $20,000 to the Dutch Reformed 
Church of America ; the gift was accepted by that body and very 
properly expended for church purposes. 

The testator, doubtless, with a view to posthumous fame and 
remembrance, made the gift on the express condition that his will 
should be read at all the official sessions of the Church forever. 
The Church has ever since been reading this document at all its 
official meetings. 

It appears that the testament is of considerable length and much 
dryness, and its reading has become an irksome task : the Church 
has recently appealed to the courts of New York to be released from 
the duty of further reading the will, and it is to be hoped that the 
proper tribunal will determine that sufficient fidelity and honor 
have been shown. 

Will of Pinedo, the Portuguese Jew 

This remarkable Israelite, well known in Amsterdam for his 
enormous wealth and liberal donations, died about the middle of 
the eighteenth century. His will, testifying to a noble and gener- 
ous nature, and disposing in the most magnanimous and tolerant 
spirit of the very large fortune he had made, is to be foimd (in 
Schutt's "Memorabilia Judaica," lib. iv. cap. 18) as follows : 

"I bequeath to the city of Amsterdam the simi of five 'tons' of 
gold. 

"I lend to the said city for ten years, and without interest, 
the sum of a million and a half of florins. 

"I give to every Christian church at Amsterdam and at the 
Hague the sum of 10,000 florins each, and to the church in the 
southern quarter of Amsterdam 20,000 florins. 

"I give to each Christian orphanage in the two towns the sum 
of 10,000 crowns. 

"I give to the poor of Amsterdam forty shiploads of peat. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 105 

"I give to the orphan who shall first quit the orphanage 1000 
florins, and to the one who shall succeed him 600 florins. 

"I give to the synagogue at Amsterdam two and a half 'tons ' 
of gold. 

"I give to the Portuguese orphanage 30,000 crowns. 

"I lend to the Government at three per cent, interest, ten 'tons' 
of gold on condition that the interest shall be paid to the Jews 
domiciled at Jerusalem : the capital to belong to the Government 
in perpetuity. 

"I give to the German synagogue 5000 florins. 

"I give to my nephew Ovis thirty-one 'tons' of gold, with all 
my houses and appurtenances. 

"I give to my widow ten 'tons' of gold. 

"I give to my other relations in equal portions 10,000 crowns. 

"I give to each of my neighbours who shall assist at my funeral 
100 ducats. 

"I give to every unmarried person of either sex who shall be 
present at my burial 100 florins, and to every Christian priest 
in Amsterdam and at the Hague 100 crowns, and to every sacristan 
50 crowns." 

Charitable Light 

John Wardall, of London, by will, dated 29th August, 1656, 
gave to the Grocers' Company, a tenement called the White 
Bear, in Walbrook, to the intent that they should yearly, within 
thirty days after Michaelmas, pay to the churchwardens of St. 
Botolph, Billingsgate, £4 to provide a good and sufficient iron and 
glass lantern, with a candle, for the direction of passengers to go 
with more security to and from the waterside all night long ; the 
same to be fixed at the northeast corner of the parish church 
of St. Botolph, from the Feast Day of St. Bartholomew to Lady- 
day ; out of which sum £1 was to be paid to the sexton for taking 
care of the lantern. 

Gratitude 

Charles Jones, Esq., of Lincoln's Inn, by will, dated 17th 
January, 1640, directed that an hospital should be built near 
PuUhelly for 12 poor men, and that his father first, his uncle next, 
and so their heirs, should fairly and justly manage and govern 
such hospital, which he had long resolved, and with the desire of 
his deceased wife, who was with his father, and their mother, his 
brother Griffith, his sister, his wife, himself, and other servants. 



106 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

mercifully preserved and brought to land in Pullhelly, from im- 
minent and present danger of the seas by God's unspeakable love 
and favor; and whereas likewise he in his younger years was 
miraculously, by God's own hand, drawn and led from the house 
in Port thyn Llayn, Wales, that was instantly cast and thrown 
down by the moultringe of an hill near thereunto, and therein 
nine persons and Christians were killed by reason thereof; him- 
self, a child of three or four years of age at the most, having newly 
entered the house, and in a moment returned, not thirty yards 
from the house, but it fell all to dust and rubbish ; for these and 
many other of God's great mercies and loving kindness unto him, 
he and his deceased wife had determined of this poor hospital ; 
for the maintenance of which hospital to be erected, he devised 
forever certain lands, of £50 per annum, and ordained his brother, 
Robert Jones, his executor. 

It appears by a Latin inscription in front of the almshouses, 
that the benevolent intentions of the founder were entirely frus- 
trated during the troubles of the civil war, and that the present 
edifice was erected by his heir, William Price, Esq., of Rhiwlas, iii 
the year 1760. 

A Light foe Night Tbavbllebs 

John Cooke, of St. Michael, Crooked Lane, London, by will, 
dated 12th September, 1662, gave to the churchwardens and vestry- 
men of this parish £76, to be laid out to the most profit and advan- 
tage, for various uses, and, amongst them 

To the parish clerk, on condition that he should weekly, on a 
Saturday, sweep and make clean the aisle of the church called 
Fishmongers' Aisle, 6s. 8d. 

For the maintenance of a lantern and candle, to be of eight in 
the pound at the least, to be kept and hanged out at the corner of 
St. Michael's Lane, next Thames Street, from Michaelmas to Lady- 
day, between the hours of nine and ten o'clock at night, until the 
hours of four or five in the morning, for affording light to passengers 
going through Thames Street or St. Michael's Lane, £1. 

Beer fob his Associates 

In 1879 died at Berlin a singular character, a man of large prop- 
erty and a fervent follower of the sect of Gambrinus. 

The Tageblatt states that he had made in his will some capricious 
dispositions as regarded his burial; so abnormal, indeed, as to 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 107 

call for the intervention of the police ; one of his directions being 
that his friends were to take it in turns to roll after his hearse a 
barrel of beer, which they were afterwards to consume upon his 
grave. 

He distributed his large fortune among divers charitable institu- 
tions ; but to his will was appended a codicil which was not to be 
opened until a year after his death. This anniversary, adds the 
Tageblatt, occurred recently. 

The codicil being now accessible reveals a decree creating a fund 
of ten thousand marks, the interest of which is to be expended in 
serving weekly a quarter of a tim of Bavarian beer to the fre- 
quenters of a brewery in the Prinzenstrasse, where the testator 
had been in the habit of spending his evenings regularly during 
many years — these persons being such as survived of his con- 
temporaries. As soon as all shall be dead, the fund is to be trans- 
ferred to the first foundling hospital that shall be founded in Berlin, 
the testator himself having been a foimdling. 

Tbavellehs' Rest 

George Butler, of Coleshill, Warwickshire, by will, dated 
September 2, 1591, gave his house at the lower end of the town 
of Coleshill, called the almshouse, also a house and lands in Gilson, 
to the uses following, viz., that the rents thereof should be em- 
ployed to keep the said almshouse in repair, and buy furniture 
when wanting ; that the feoffees, or constables, with their consent, 
might lodge any poor travellers that should desire it in the said 
almshouse ; that none should be suffered to lodge there more than 
one night, except great cause shown; that care be taken women 
and men lodge not near together ; that some persons be permitted 
to dwell there rent free, to wash the house and fiu:niture, and to 
take care of the poor lodgers ; that the overplus of the rent be em- 
ployed to some charitable use. 

Poor Maimed Soldiers 

Phillip Shelley, of London, by will, dated the 6th of September, 
1603, gave certain lands in Ulkerthorpe, in the county of Derby, 
to the Company of Goldsmiths, in trust (amongst other matters), 
to pay £10 per annum forever towards the relief of poor maimed 
soldiers, which sum is paid generally to ten pensioners of Chelsea 
Hospital. 



108 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Tolerance 
William Wilson, of Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, England, by his 
will, dated 15th of April, 1726, gave the sum of £100 South Sea 
Stock to the Chamber of the Corporation of Tewkesbury, upon 
trust, to permit the high bailiff for the time being to receive the 
dividends thereon, and dispose of the same, at his discretion, to 
poor persons of Tewkesbury, especially to such as should be visited 
with sickness or other calamitous accidents, without any regard to 
differences of political and religious opinions, the bailiff to account 
to the chamber for the disposal of the same, and to retain 10». 
for his trouble. 

A Republican Will 

In August, 1874, MM. Nicolet and Colmet-d'Ange were em- 
ployed to plead before the premiere chambre against the will of 
Adolphe-Th6odore-Ange, du Laurens de la Barre. 

The number of this gentleman's names is in itself an eccentric- 
ity ; his will was another. We need not cite the whole of it, but 
the following was the concluding clause : 

"In case I should leave no grand-nephews, I bequeath my 
property, after the death of Madame Duhem and Mdlle. Verdun, 
to the three cities of Guingamp, Morlaix, and Lannion, on condi- 
tion that the revenues of the same shall be employed to give mar- 
riage portions annually, and alternately, in each such city, to five 
young girls of small means. 

"I desire that they shall begin by Guingamp and follow with 
the others in regular order. 

"I further request the republican members of the conseil-g^n^ral 
of the Finisterre, to the number of five — to the absolute exclu- 
sion of Legitimists, Orleanists, Imperialists, and above all of Cleri- 
cals and Communards — to find five young girls whose parents, 
and who also themselves, hold the same opinions as myself. If 
at the conseil-general there should not be found the required 
number of members, those there are must call upon the municipal 
counsellors of the above-named towns, and if they should refuse 
to accept, on all the municipal counsellors. 

"The Breton people is dominated, enchained by old prejudices; 
it must be liberated from its bondage. 

"I believe in an imknown God whom I invoke daily, but not in a 
God of human creation. 

" (Signed) Adolphe-Theodore-Anqe, du Laurens 

"Guingamp, 5th October. 1872." ^^ ^* ^*"®- 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 109 

A Pbovision fob Twins 

Mr. and Mrs. Heniy C. Mills, of Marblehead, Massachusetts, 
are the first claimants under a bequest made in the will of Hon. 
James J. H. Gregory, which provides that the income of $1000 
shall be divided each year among the parents of twins bom in 
Marblehead. The Mills twins were bom July 10, 1910, and are 
boys. 

The will, which was probated about a month after Mr. Gregory's 
death in Febmary, 1910, reads as follows : 

"Having had my sympathies often aroused by reason of the 
extra burden and care entailed on loving mothers, poor in the 
tilings of earth, who have brought twins into the world, as an 
expression of that sympathy I leave in trust to my beloved town 
$1000, with the provision that the interest be divided on January 
first between all twins bom in Marblehead during the previous year. 
In case no twins are bom during a given year the interest shall 
be added to the principal." 

Dropping Monet on a Tombstone 

On Good Friday, in the Churchyard of St. Bartholomew the 
Great, Smithfield, after divine service, one of the clergymen drops 
twenty-one sixpences on a tombstone, to be picked up by as many 
poor people, widows having the preference. The will providing 
for this is lost, and the distribution is now made out of the parish 
fimds. The bequest is said to date several hundreds of years back. 

Chabitt Sebmons to commemobate National Meecies 

Luke Jackson, citizen and girdler, of London, by will, dated 
26th of January, 1630, reciting that he was seized in fee of certain 
tithes at or near Horsepool, in the county of Leicester, being about 
the value of £20 per annum, devised the same to certain persons 
on trust, yearly, to pay the clear rents and profits thereof in man- 
ner following ; that is to say, two equal third parts as foUoweth : 
40s. thereof yearly to be given for two sermons to be preached in 
St. Peter's church, in the town of Nottingham, on 28th of July and 
5th of November, acknowledging God's mercy, and giving thanks 
for the deliverance of this land and people at two several times 
from the Invincible Armada (as it was termed) in 1588, and from 
the Gunpowder Plot in 1605 : and the residue of the said two- 



110 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

thirds to be distributed amongst the poor people in the parish of 
St. Peter, at the discretion of his five feoffees ; and the other third 
part of the clear profits of the said tithes as foUoweth, viz., 40s. 
for two sermons to be preached in the church of Thornton, near 
Horsepool, on the two above mentioned days ; and the residue to 
be distributed amongst the poor people in the parish of Thornton, 
at the discretion of his feoffees. 

Encoxjeagement for Maid-seevants 

John Cogan, of Canterbury, England, by his will, bearing 
date 27th of July, 1657, recited that he had lately pxirchased lands 
and tenements in the parishes of St. Mildred and St. Mary Castle, 
Canterbury, and in Thanington in Kent, of the yearly value of 
£35, which he hoped in ten years would improve in yearly value 
by £10, and which he intended to dispose of for the encouragement 
of maid-servants, to continue in service for six or seven years to- 
gether; he therefore willed and devised the sum of five pounds, 
apiece to any such three maid-servants as should, without compul- 
sion, dwell with any master or mistress, not being their own 
kindred, within the city of Canterbury, for six or seven years 
together, without shifting their service ; and he directed that such 
master or mistress should give a certificate of such service, and that 
the wages had not exceeded fifty shillings a year, to the mayor, 
recorder and three or more of the aldermen of the said city for the 
time being ; and he further directed that the overplus, after keep- 
ing the said tenements in good repair, should be employed by the 
said mayor, recorder and three of the said ancient aldermen for 
the time being, in clothing six fatherless maiden children, from the 
age of six to twelve years, each to have a petticoat and waistcoat 
of colored kersey, one pair of shoes, and one pair of stockings, on 
Christmas Day; and that they should go through the city of 
Canterbury from parish to parish, as the said overplus would 
extend. 

Bull Baiting 

George Staverton, of Wokingham, Berks, England, by will, 
dated May, 1661, gave out of his Staines house a yearly sum of 
£6 to buy a bull, which bull he gave to the poor of Wokingham 
town and parish, being baited, and the gift money, hide, and 
offal to be sold and bestowed upon the poor children in stockings- 
of the Welsh, and shoes. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 111 

Until 1823 the baiting of the animal took place yearly on the 
21st of December, in the market-place of Wokingham. In that 
year the Corporation determined upon discontinuing such a pro- 
ceeding, which has since accordingly been omitted. 

Must attend Chukch 

The last wiU and testament of Thomas Spackman, of Cliffe 
Pypard, Wilts, England, is as follows : 

"June 5th, 1675. — I do charge my lands with twenty-one shil- 
lings by the year, and to continue for ever ; viz., one shilling to the 
minister of the parish, to mind him of his duty in catechizing the 
children ; twenty shillings to the poor of the parish yearly, to be 
given them at the church, viz. -^ five shillings on St. Thomas's Day, 
five shillings on the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, five 
shillings on St. John the Baptist's and five shillings on St. Mat- 
thew's Day : my Will is, that twenty poor people do receive three- 
pence a-piece, and that they be at the church at the begiiming of 
prayers, or else to have no share; if the number be not twenty, 
then the remains to be given to those that are best deserving; 
and if they can, let them sing the 15th Psalm ; now, if the minister 
be a good man, he will be careful to see this my Will performed, 
for the honour of the church, that at this day is almost destitute." 

The land charged with this payment is in the tithing of Broad 
Town, and the property of William Ruddle Brown, a farmer. 
The sum has been for many years distributed in bread. 

Fancy for Color 

Henry Greene, of Melbourne, Derbyshire, England, by will, 
dated 22d of December, 1679, gave to his sister, Catherine Greene, 
during her life, all his lands in Melbourne and Newton, and after 
her decease to others, in trust, upon condition that the said Cath- 
erine Greene should give four green waistcoats to four poor women 
every year, such four green waistcoats to be lined with green galloon 
lace, and to be delivered to the said poor women on or before the 
21st of December yearly, that they might be worn on Christmas 
Day. 

For Paupers 

Valentine Gtoodman, of Hallaton, Leicestershire, England, 
by will, dated in 1684, bequeathed £800, to be laid out in land, 
and the profits thereof given to the "most indigent, poorest. 



112 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

aged, decrepid, miserablest paupers," viz., six from Easton, four 
from Medbourn, four from Hallaton, and two from Blaston ; and 
if any part of the money (was) employed for easing town levies, 
or not according to the intent of the testator, then he declared that 
the gift should cease, and the money be employed for the redemp- 
tion of Turkish captives. 

A Religious Task 

Dr. Thomas White, of Newark, Nottinghamshire, England, 
Bishop of Peterborough, by his will, bearing date in 1690, gave 
to the poor of the parish of Newark £240, to be laid out in land, 
£10 of which rent he allotted to the poor yearly forever, and the 
surplusage, whatever it should be, to the rector, as a reward for 
his pains and fidelity in the distribution of the said £10 to the poor ; 
and he directed that the distribution should be made yearly by 
the rector in the church porch, in the presence of the church- 
wardens or overseers, in the following manner, viz. : that it should 
be distributed the 14th of December to twenty poor families, or 
persons of forty years old each, by equal shares, reckoning husband 
and wife for one person, who should, before the receipt thereof, 
exactly and distinctly repeat the Lord's Prayer, the Apostles' 
Creed, and the Ten Commandments, without missing or changing 
one word therein. And if any man and wife should appear for a 
share in the said charity, it should not be a sufficient qualification 
for them that one of them made the exact rehearsal, but they should 
both make it, or else have no share at all in it. He also directed 
that no one should receive his charity twice, till all the poor of the 
parish should have received it once who should make the repetition 
aforesaid, that the advantage might spread as far as possible. 

Attachment to a Family Name 

John Nicholson of London, Stationer, by wUl, dated 28th of 
April, 1717, after bequeathing several specific legacies, gave all 
the residue of his estate in charity towards the support and main- 
tenance of such poor persons of the Kingdom of England as should 
appear to be of the name of Nicholson, being Protestants ; and he 
directed that it should be disposed of in the following manner, 
namely : 

One hundred pounds a year to two such poor persons, men or 
women, of the name of Nicholson, towards their advancement in 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 113 

marriage; to each of them £50; always observing that no more 
than £50 be given to any one couple so marrying. 

One hundred pounds per annum towards putting to apprentice 
such poor boys and girls of the name of Nicholson, or towards 
settiQg them up, as his trustees should think fit. 

And one hundred pounds per aimum towards the support and 
maintenance of such poor men and women of the name of Nich- 
olson, as his trustees should direct; always observing that not 
more than £10 a year and not less than £5 a year should be given 
to any one person ; the said sums to be paid to them at their own 
habitations. 

He appointed William Nicholson, Lord Bishop of Carlisle ; Mr. 
Nicholson, the Bishop's son ; and three other persons of the name 
of Nicholson, two of whom were resident in London, trustees, 
and left to them the entire management of this charity and ap- 
pointed them his executors. 

Bequest to pay Marhiage Fees 

Mr. Thomas Hatch, of Winkfield, Berks, England, by wUl, 
dated 3d of Deceniber, 1778, gave to the churchwardens of 
Wiokfield £200 to be laid out in the public funds, the interest to 
be applied to the payment of the fees for such poor persons as are 
willing to marry, but cannot pay the expense. 

After the payment of the marriage fees of such couples as claim 
it, the residue is distributed by the churchwardens in small sums 
of money and articles of clothing to such poor persons as they may 
think deserving. 

Will leaving a Fund to endow a Rosiebe 

By her will, dated 6th of December, 1870, a lady of Puteaux, 
Madame Jeanne Cartault, bequeathed to that parish the sum of 
fifteen thousand francs, the interest of which was to be employed 
every year in providing a marriage portion for the most deserving 
among the poor working girls, and was to be called the Cartault " 
foundation. The gift only to be made over to the recipient on 
her marriage, and the administrator to pay the amoimt only on 
the wedding-day, and in presence of the registrar. The marriage 
to take place on or about the 17th of January, being the wedding- 
day of Madame Cartault. 

A clause in the will provides that the firstborn of this marriage 



114 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

shall, if a boy, take the name of Edmond — that of M. Cartault, 
and, if a girl, that of Jeanne — being the name of the testatrix. 

According to these directions, on the 29th of January, 1874, took 
place the crowning of the first Rosiere of Puteaux, in conformity 
with the prescriptions of the will, and with it the donation of the 
amount of one year's interest on the sum bequeathed — seven 
hundred and fifty francs. 

The choice had fallen on a young woman of twenty-four. Made- 
moiselle Eugenie Bouillaud. Her qualifications justified the selec- 
tion. She was an orphan, and from the time she was ten years 
of age had worked for the support of her grandparents, who lived 
in extreme poverty. Her mother died when she was born, and her 
father was killed in trying to rescue a fellow-workman from a well 
into which he had fallen. 

The ceremony was rendered picturesque by the arrangements 
made to honor the occasion, but for some reason every demon- 
stration of a religious nature was excluded. An immense tent 
had been erected near the mayor's house, decorated with flags 
and banners. The proceedings were opened with a piece of orches- 
tral music, admirably executed by the Orpheonic band of the 
town. The mayor made a neat and appropriate speech, after 
which M. Laboulaye addressed the Rosiere and the assembled 
spectators. 

The concluding incident of the ceremony was the crowning of 
the young girl, whose quiet, modest demeanor well became her 
pale but interesting face. Her name was then inscribed on the 
virgin page of the lAvre d'or des Bosieres de Puteaux, and her auto- 
graph signature was written beneath it with a somewhat trembling 
hand. 

To Promote Brotherly Love 

Robert Halliday, of Eastcheap, London, by his will, dated 
6th of May, 1491, gave estates in the parish of St. Leonard, 
Eastcheap, the rents to be applied to various purposes, and,. 
' amongst others, 5s. to the churchwardens yearly, either to make 
an entertainment among such persons of his home parish of St. 
Clement, who should be at variance with each other, in the week 
preceding Easter, to induce such persons to better neighborhood, 
and to beget brotherly love amongst them ; or if none should be 
found in the said parish, then to make an entertainment with the 
said 5s. at the tavern amongst the honest parishioners of the said 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 115 

parish on the day of our Lord's Supper, commonly called Shere 
Thursday, that they may pray more fervently for the souls of cer- 
tain persons named in his will. 



Dkinking 

Edward Cooper, of Slinfold, Sussex, England, by his will, 
dated 10th of February, 1621, gave 20s. a year out of lands called 
Whitbers, in Slinfold, 15s. thereof to be bestowed by the church- 
wardens and overseers upon a drinking, for the use of the poor of 
the parish yearly, at the feast day of the Purification of the Virgin, 
in as good sort as they coidd, and the other 5s. to drink witiial 
themselves, for their labor and pains therein. 

The land is now called South Whitbreads, and the owner of the 
property regularly pays the sum of £1 yearly, which is distributed 
amongst the poor at Christmas by the churchwardens and over- 
seers. 

Encouragement to attend Divine Service 

Thomas Walker, of St. James's, Bristol, England, by his will, 
dated 25th of April, 1666, ordered as follows: "I give and be- 
queath to that poor parish of St. James the sum of £200, to 
purchase for ever the sum of £10 8s. Od. a year for eight poor 
house-keepers that are known to live in the fear of God, and to 
come unto the church every Lord's day, a six-penny loaf of bread 
every Sabbath day, after morning prayer, imto these eight poor 
house-keepers for ever ; but for God's sake let them be no drunk- 
ards nor common swearers — no, nor that do beg in the streets 
from door to door, but let them be quiet people that do desire to 
live in the fear of God. Pray let their bread be wheaten bread, 
and weight as it ought to be." 

Storsit Days 

Thomas Williamson, of Castlerigg, Cumberland, England, by 
will, dated 14th of December, 1674, gave the sum of £20 to be 
laid out in land to be bestowed upon poor people, born within 
St. John's Chapelry or Castlerigg, in mutton or veal, at Martinmas 
yearly, when flesh might be thought cheapest, to be by them 
pickled or hung up and dried, that they might have something to 
keep them within doors upon stormy days. 



116 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Snuff and Tobacco foe the Sick 

Dr. P. W. Ciimraing left six hundred pounds to the Royal 
Infirmary, Edinburgh, to provide poor patients, male and female, 
with snuff and tobacco, giving the following reason for his imusual 
bequest: "I know how to feel for the suffering of those, who in 
addition to the irksomeness of pain and the tedium of confinement, 
have to endure the privation of what long habit has rendered in a 
great degree a necessity of life." 

To TOLL THE BeLL 

WiUiam MLata, of Great Gonerby, Lincolnshire, who died 8th 
of June, 1724, gaVe £5 to the poor of Gonerby, to be distributed 
in bread to sixteen aged people, on Good Friday, yearly, a "three- 
penny dole a piece," and the clerk was "to toll the bell at three 
o'clock, and to read the Epistle and Gospel, and sing the Lamenta- 
tion of a Sinner," and to have one shilling reward. 

Chbistmas Festivities 

Wilham Taylor, of Shropshire, England, by will, dated 6th of 
February, 1735, directed that Elizabeth Leigh, then owner, 
and the persons who subsequently should be owners of his two 
freehold houses, &c., situate in High Street, in the parish of St. 
Leonard, should yearly, for ever, on the 26th of December, give and 
provide a good and wholesome dinner for the poor persons, alms- 
house women, inhabiting the almshouse belonging to the parish of 
St. Leonard, in such manner as of late years has been provided for 
them on that day by the testator and his late brother ; and they 
to be so entertained in the most convenient part of the house that 
fronted the street; and upon every default his Will was, and he 
ordered the sum of £10 to be paid to, and equally divided amongst, 
such poor persons, and the same to be chargeable upon the said 
houses, &c. 

Gratitude foe being peeseeved in a Battle 

Ezekiel Nash, an Englishman, of Bristol, St. James', for a 
memorial of his thankfulness to Almighty God for his wonderful 
preservation in an engagement with a French frigate, March the 
Sth, 1762, gave by will, dated 27th of March, 1800, the sum of £100^ 
to the churchwardens and overseers for the time being of such 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 117 

parish as he should be biiried in, upon trust, to invest the same 
and apply the interest annually in manner following, viz., to the 
minister of the same parish, for preaching a sermon yearly, on the 
8th of March, forever, one guinea ; to the clerk and sexton for their 
attendance, 5s. each ; the residue in the purchase of bread, to be 
distributed on the 8th of March, and the six Sundays next follow- 
ing, among such poor persons of the parish whom the minister, 
churchwardens and overseers should think fit objects to receive 
the same, not receiving alms or other charity. 

The Gratitude of a Membek of Parliament 

Henry Archer, Esq., of Hale, England, in the coimty of South- 
ampton, by will, dated the 5th of November, 1764, gave the sum of 
£500 to the poor of the borough of Warwick, in grateful remem- 
brance of the very great honor conferred on him by the said 
borough (which he represented in Parliament) for thirty years and 
upwards, to be disposed of, and managed to the best advantage of 
the said poor by his brother Lord Archer, the Earl of Warwick, 
and Matthew Wise, Esq., and by the respective vicars, church- 
wardens and overseers of the poor of the parishes of St. Mary and 
St. Nicholas, in the said borough, for the time being. 

The interest is employed in purchasing coals in the summer, 
and selling them to the poor at a reduced price in winter. 

In Commemoration of John Btjnyan 

Samuel Whitbread, Esq., of Bedford, England, by will, dated 
the 13th of July, 1795, gave to the trustees of the " Old Meeting," 
out of respect to the memory of John Bunyan, and for the relief of 
the poor of the congregation, five hundred pounds, to be laid out 
by his executors in the Three Per Cent. Consols, and the dividends 
to be annually applied in giving bread to the poor in quartern loaves 
every Sabbath morning, from October to May. 

After the death of Mr. Whitbread, the sum of £500, instead of 
being laid out in stock, was, at the request of his son, the late Samuel 
Whitbread, Esq., allowed to remain in his hands on the security of 
his bond, conditioned for the investment of £980 Three Per Cent. 
Consols, being so much stock as the £500 would then purchase. 

A bond, subject to the same condition, was executed about 1819 
by William Henry Whitbread, Esq., eldest son of the late Samud 
Whitbread, in lieu of the former bond. 



118 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

The interest payable on the bond amounts to £29 8s. per annum, 
which is received regularly by the trustees of the Old Meeting, and 
is laid out by them in the purchase of quartern loaves, which are 
distributed at the meeting-:house every Sabbath day, from May to 
October, among such poor persons of the congregation as the trus- 
tees select. 

Dressing a Grave with Flowers 

William Benson Earie, Esq., of Grateley, Hampshire, England, 
who died in 1796, gave three hundred guineas to the rector, church- 
wardens, and overseers of Grateley, in trust, to invest the same in 
their joint names, and expend half the interest thereof at Christmas, 
and the other half at Easter, in the purchase of the best ox-beef and 
cheese, together with potatoes or peas, or both, to be distributed in 
just proportions, at their discretion, among the poorest families in 
that parish, but nowhere else. And he requested that one guinea of 
the annual interest should be given yearly to the clerk of the parish, 
so long as he should cleanse and repair with flowers in the different 
seasons, as had before been done, the bed over the remains of Dame 
Joanna Elton, in the churchyard of Grateley. 

Bread for the Poor 

The Rev. Mr. Pitt, an English clergyman, directed sixty penny 
loaves to be given to the poor of St. Botolph's, Bishopsgate, yearly, 
on Whit Sunday, by eight o'clock in the morning, upon his tomb, 
in the burying-ground, in Old Bethlem. 

Bluecoat Boys and Packets of Raisins 

In accordance with the will of Peter Symonds, dated 1586, sixty 
of the younger boys of Christ's Hospital, London, attend divine ser- 
vice at the Church of Allhallows, Lombard-street, on Good Friday, 
and are presented each with a new penny, a bun, and a packet of 
j-aisins. 

A Fixed Price for Corn and Wine 

A citizen of Berne, Switzerland, left this unusual will : 
"Being anxious for my fellow-citizens of Berne (who have often 
suffered by dearth of corn and wine), my Will is that, by the per- 
mission of Providence, they shall never for the future suffer again 
under the like calamity, to which end and purpose I give my estate, 
real and personal, to the Senate of Berne, in trust for the people ; 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 119 

that is to say, that they receive the produce of my estate till it 
shall come to the smn of (suppose two thousand poiuids) ; that 
then they shall lay out the two thousand pounds in building a town 
house, according to a plan by me left ; the lower story whereof to 
consist of large vaults or repositories for wine ; the story above I 
direct to be formed into a piazza, for such persons as shall come to 
the market at Berne for disposing of their goods free from the in- 
juries of the weather ; above that I direct a council chamber to be 
erected for a committee of the Senate to meet in from time to time 
to adjust my accounts, and to direct such things as may be neces- 
sary for the charity ; and above the council chamber as many floors 
for granaries as can be conveniently raised, to deposit a quantity 
of corn for the use of the people whenever they shall have occasion 
for it. And when this building shall be erected, and the expense of 
it discharged, I direct the Senate of Berne to receive the produce 
of my estate till the same shall amount to the sum (suppose of two 
thousand pounds) ; and when the price of corn shall be under the 
mean rate of the last ten years, one fourth part, they shall then lay 
out one thousand poimds in corn, and stow it in my granaries, and 
the same in wine, when under one fourth of the mean rate of the last 
ten years ; and my Will is that none of the said corn or wine shall 
be sold until the price of corn and wine shall exceed at the common 
market one fourth of the mean rate for the last ten years ; and then 
every citizen of Berne shall demand daily (and proportionally 
weekly) as many pounds of wheat and as many pints of winfe as he 
has mouths in his family to consume, and no more, and that for the 
same he pay ready money after the mean rate that it has been at for 
the last ten years past,. a due proportion being allowed for waste, 
and that to be settled by the Senate ; and that each householder 
shall be so supplied as long as the price of corn and wine shall con- 
tinue above the rate of one fourth more than the mean rate ; and 
whatsoever increase shall be made of the capital, it shall be laid out 
under the same restrictions, in adding to the stock of com and wine ; 
which, under the blessing of God, will, I hope, in a certain time re- 
duce these two necessary articles of life to very near a fixed price,, 
to the glory of God and the benefit of the poor." 

This legacy has existed about 300 years, and had the desired 
eflFect at Berne, and a will on the same principle has been made for 
purchasing fuel for the poor of Kingston-on-Thames, England. 



120 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Fish foe the Poor in Lent 

John Thake, of Clavering, Essex, England, by will, dated 13th of 
June, 1537, gave to Robert Coekerell and his heirs his house and 
lands called Valence, upon condition that they should forever, 
yearly, on Friday, the first week in Lent, give to poor people of 
Clavering one barrel of white herrings and a cade of red herrings 
(a cade is about half a barrel), always to be given by the oversight 
of the churchwardens and the tenants and occupiers of the lord- 
ship and parsonage of Clavering. 

The owner of the farm called Valence, regularly sends to the 
house of the parish clerk, in Lent, a barrel of red herrings and a 
barrel of white, which are distributed in the church by the parish 
clerk and sexton, four to each married couple, two to each widow 
and widower, and one to each child. 

Cow Chaeity 

James Goodaker, of Woodchurch, Cheshire, England, in 1525, 
left a fund by will to buy twenty yoke of bullocks, which were sub- 
sequently replaced by cows, and given to the poor of Woodchurch 
parish : every parishioner that had a cow or cows paying yearly 
for each to the overseers the sum of 2s. 8d. every Friday before Whit- 
sunday, which hire was to be a stock for the benefit of the poor 
forever. 

The parish of Woodchurch includes ten townships, from each of 
which a trustee of the cow property is elected, whose duty it is to see 
that the animals are properly taken care of, and those persons are 
termed governors of the cows. There is an annual meeting, on 
which occasion the cows are produced and examined. 

Turkeys fob Parishioners 

In 1691, John Hall left to the Weavers' Company a dwelling-house, 
with instructions to pay 10s. per annum to the churchwardens of 
St. Clement, Eastcheap, to provide on the Thursday night before 
Easter two turkeys for the parishioners, on the occasion of their 
annual reconciling or love-feast (settlement of quarrels or disputes). 

Bread, Beer, Beef, and Broth 

John Balliston, of St. Giles's, Norwich, by will, dated 17th of 
October, 1584, devised three tenements in St. Giles's next the 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 121 

Gates to certain persons, upon condition that they shoidd make 
distribution to the poor in manner following, viz. that in the week 
before Christmas, the week before Michaelmas, and the week after 
Easter, in the church of St. Giles, the minister should request the 
poor people, all that should receive or have need of alms, to come 
to church, and request them to pray for the preservation of the 
Prince, &c. ; that the poor should place themselves four and four 
together, all that should be above the age of eleven years, and that 
every four of them should have set before them a two-penny wheat 
loaf, a gallon of best beer, and four pounds of beef and broth; 
that the minister should have fourpence for his pains on each of the 
three days. 

The rent of £2 a year is paid to the parish for the premises, which, 
with other charities, is laid out in the purchase of coals. 

Halfpenny Bread Charity 

Robert Grainger of Godmanchester, Huntingdonshire, by his 
will, dated 10th of October, 1578, gave and appointed as much 
bread as could be made of a coomb of wheat, to be made into half- 
penjiy loaves, and to be distributed among the poor of Godman- 
chester by the churchwardens, to be charged on his mansion house 
in Godmanchester. 

The present owner of the house pays the value of four bushels of 
wheat, according to the average price of wheat at Himtingdon 
market, on the Saturday before Good Friday, to a baker, for sup- 
plying the bread, which is distributed on Good Friday. 

Cuttings of Fish 

Robert Harding, of London, by will, dated 20th of November, 
1568, gave to the Company of Fishmongers an annuity of £3 6*. 8d. 
issuing out of his lands and tenements in Pudding Lane ; and 
Simon Harding, his son, by deed, 7th of September, 1576, confirmed 
the same ; to hold the said annuity to the wardens and common- 
alty and their successors, to the intent that they should pay in the 
Lent season £3, that is, in New Fish Street 30s. and in Old Fish 
Street 30s., to the use of the poor inhabiters and artificers com- 
pelled by necessity to repair thither, to buy the cuttings of fish and 
the refuse of fish ; the residue to remain to the wardens for their 
labors in this behalf. 

There being no poor persons of the description mentioned in the 



122 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS. WILLS 

will, the annuity has been added to the fund distributed to the 
half-yearly poor at Christmas. 

Bequest of White Peas 

John Huntingtdon, of Sawston, Cambridgeshire, England, by 
will, dated 4th of August, 1554, devised lands and tenements to 
Joiee his wife, and his heirs, upon condition that his heirs should 
yearly forever sow two acres of land, lying together in Linton field, 
with white peas, one coomb to be yearly bestowed upon each 
acre, for the relief of the people of Sawston. 

Two acres, the property of Richard Huddlestone, Esq., the lord 
of the several manors in the parish, are annually sowed with white 
peas, as directed by the will, which are gathered green on a day 
fixed by the occupier of the land, by all the poor indiscriminately, 
when a complete scene of scramble and confusion ensues, attended 
with occasional conflicts. 

MitK Tkibute 

Edmund Porter of Alresford, Middlesex, by will, dated 27th of 
May, 1558, directed that John Porter should have a house called 
Knapps, with the appurtenances, church fences, and caprons 
(which comprised thirty-one acres of land), to him and his heirs, 
upon condition that they should give forever the morning milk 
of two able milk beasts to the poor people of this parish, every 
Sunday yearly, from Whitsunday to Michaelmas, 3s. 4d. on Good 
Friday, and a like sum on Christmas Day. 

This milk tribute has subsequently been commuted for a money 
payment, which is distributed in bread amongst the poor. 

4 
BURIAL 

"He will awake no more; no, never mOTe." 

A Primitive Belief 

There seems to have been a wide-spread primitive belief that the 
spirit of the departed could not rest in peace unless the obsequies 
were duly performed. Thus the ghost of Patroclus appeared to 
Achilles to request that his body might be buried in order that he 
might pass the gates of Hades. This belief was apparently fostered 
by the doctrine of the resurrection of the body. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 123 

Veteran's Request 

Robert Riedel, of Detroit, Michigan, died in June, 1910. He 
tad fought through the Franco-Prussian War. By the terms of 
his will, he left to Detroit survivors of his old company, fifteen 
dollars with which to buy beer after they had marched to his 
funeral. It is said the purchase was made and duly drunk. 

His Heakt to be sent Home 

There was filed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on September 24th, 
1910, the will of Count Julian S. De Ovies, former Chilian Consul 
in Pittsburgh. He left his entire estate to his wife, Minnie, 
his son. Rev. Raimundo B. De Ovies, and his daughter, Edith 
Manselea De Ovies. One curious sentence in the will reads : 

"I request that my body be cremated and my heart be sent, 
according to family custom, to the chapel of Santa Maria, in 
Luanco, Conbecejo de Gozon, Province of Austria, Spain." 

Wished a Pebpendiculah Grave 

A nobleman of the house of Du Chdtelet, who died about 1280, 
left in his will a singular provision. He desired that one of the 
pillars in the church of NeufchAteau should be hollowed out and 
his body placed in it on its feet, "in order," says he, "that the 
vulgar may not walk about upon me." In a very different spirit 
was the following will. 

Will of Guillaumb de Chahplitte 

This worthy was Sire de Pontailler and de Talmai, Viscomte 
de Dijon, and descended from Guillaume de Champlitte 11., 
Viscomte de Dijon, founder of the Priory of St. Marie de Pon- 
tailler, of the order "du Val des Ecoliers." Shortly before his 
death in 1282, he made a will, desiring that he might be interred 
wearing the habit of a cordelier, and laid upon some litter. He 
further ordered there should be but four "chandailles," i.e. candles, 
tapers, or torches employed at his funeral. He requested also 
that his body should be placed under the porch of the church of the 
Priory of Pontailler, that passers-by might walk over it. His 
desire was to be laid near his father, who had likewise caused him- 
self to be buried under the porch. 



124 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

BxjBiED IN Cambric 

Lately, at Taunton, far advanced in years, Mrs. Mary Davis, 
an eccentric character, died. In her will she ordered that the 
expenses of her funeral should not exceed $1500, but that she 
should be buried in cambric, and that her coffin should be made of 
mahogany. 

Bequeathed him Funebal Expenses 

Mrs. Mary Thomas Piper, a wealthy widow of Kansas City, 
died in 1910. To Rollins Bingham, a nephew, she left $250 to be 
held in trust and used only for his funeral expenses. It appears 
that the conduct and habits of the nephew had not been pleasing 
to the testatrix, and she adopted this weird way of revenging 
herself upon one who had formerly been a favorite kinsman, but 
had subsequently incurred her displeasure. 

This sum of $250 was left in trust in the hands of her executor 
to be held until the death of the nephew, and then applied to give 
him proper burial. 

Rollins Bingham was a newspaper writer of Kansas City, 
Missouri, and his father was General George C. Bingham, a dis- 
tinguished Missouri artist, who painted the well-known pictures, 
"General Order No. 11 " and the "County Election." He died 
quite recently, shortly after the above-mentioned will was pro- 
bated, and the legacy at which he scoffed was used for the pur- 
pose named. 

To INDUCE People to Prat 

The will of Master Robert Toste, Provost of the Collegiate 
Church of Wingham, dated 17th of August, 1457, recites : " My 
body to be buried on the uppermost step, on the north part of 
the high altar, where the Gospel is read in the choir on holidays 
in Wingham. I Will that a marble stone be laid over me, with 
an inscription, to induce people to pray for my soul. I bequeath 
part of my books to the new College of All Souls, founded by 
Archbishop Chicheley, part to University College, and part to 
the University Library of Oxford." 

Buried in an Old Chest 

The Rev. Luke Imber, of Christchurch, Hants, England, one 
of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace for that county, who, at the 
age of eighty-three, married a country girl of thirteen, desired in 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS. AND FAMOUS WILLS 125 

tis will that he might be buried in an old chest which he had for 
some time kept by him for that purpose, and that the bearers 
should have each of them a pair of tanned leather gloves and a new 
pair of shoes, which were given accordingly. 

Beibing the Children 

Mr. Tuke, of Wath, near Rotherham, England, who died in 
1810, bequeathed one penny to every child that attended his 
ftmeral (there came from 600 to 700) ; Is. to every poor woman 
in Wath ; 10«. 6d. to the ringers to ring a peal of grandbobs, which 
was to strike ofiE whilst they were putting him into his grave ; to 
an old woman who had for eleven years tucked him up in bed, 
£l Is. per annum ; to his natural daughter, £4 4s. per annum ; to 
his old and faithful servant, Joseph Pitt, £21 per annum; forty 
dozen peimy loaves to be thrown down from the church leads on 
Christmas Day forever. Two handsome brass chandeliers were 
also bequeathed to the church, and £20 for a new set of chimes. 

Hand to be Cut Off 

Mysterious directions in wills are sometimes to be met with 
which only a knowledge of the inner family history can explain; 
such as the direction in the will of the late Countess of Loudoun, 
the half-sister of the last Marquis of Hastings : "After my death 
I direct my right hand to be cut off, and buried in Donnington 
Park, at the bend of the hill towards the Trent, with this mottoe 
over it, 'I byde my tyme.'" This direction was faithfully carried 
out by the lady's husband, and the monument can now be seen in 
Donnington Park, in England. 

An Epitaph 

There was a certain missionary who was killed in India by an 
attendant. His epitaph reads : 

Killed by an attendant. 



Well done, thou good and 
faithful servant. 



126 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Two Wives "Seven Foot" m Length 

The will of John Wilcocks, of Chipping, Wycomb, England, 
5th July, 1506. "My body to be buried in the Church of AH 
Hallondon on Wye, before the rood. To the repair of our Lady's 
Chapel of my grant xxiiis. ivd., I Will that my executors pay the 
charge of new glazing the window in the said Chapel; also I 
Will that an obit be kept yearly ; I Will that my executors buy 
a marble stone to lay on my grave, with the picture of my two 
wives of vii foot in length, the stone mentioning her sons Thomas 
and Michael Wilcocks. I appoint Walter, my son, my executor, 
and also Robert Ashebrooke and Robert Brampton, priests, and 
John Aley, my executors." 

Wanted no Moukning 

Theodore James RaUi, of Paris, an artist, who died at Lausanne, 
Switzerland, on September 26th, 1909, left personal estate in the 
United Kingdom valued at £8055. 

The testator left to his daughter, Ina, in addition to her compul- 
sory portion in accordance with the law of France, his automobile 
and the contents of his studio not otherwise bequeathed; a sum 
of 5000 fr. to his friend, Mr. Hawkins ; 15,000 fr. to the Societe des 
Artistes Frangais, the income from which is to be awarded annually 
as a prize to be known as The Theodore Ralli Prize ; to the Fine 
Arts Musevun in Athens, all pictures of Greek subjects and framed 
studies in his studio ; 5000 fr. to his model if she should still be in 
his service at the time of his death ; and the residue of his property 
to his brothers, Spiridon and Manati, for life, with remainder to his 
daughter Ina. 

Appended to the will is a letter expressing his wishes in the follow- 
ing manner : "Let me be placed in my coflBn as quickly as possible 
after my death, and let nobody outside the household be admitted 
to my death chamber before I am placed in my coffin. In a word, 
I do not wish anybody to attend through curiosity to see how I 
look. Let no photographs be made of my corpse, and let me be 
buried as soon as possible. For the love of God, do not weep for 
me. I have lived a life happy enough. The aim of my life was 
painting, and I gave it all of which I was capable. I might have 
lived twenty years more, but I could not have progressed any 
more, so what was the good of it ? And how content I should be 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS. AND FAMOUS WILLS 127 

if no one wore any marks of mourning for me. I always had a 
horror of it. So, if you cannot do otherwise, wear the least of it 
possible." 

Ashes in a Golden Receptacle 

Carl Schumann, a pedlar who died in May, 1910, at the Home 
for the Aged in Cincirmati, Ohio, directed that his body be cre- 
mated and the ashes tossed to the winds. The will also bequeathed 
the sum of Fifty Dollars to the Herwegh Maennerchor Society, 
with instructions that after the cremation the members spend the 
money having a good time. 

The ceremony took place at the crematory at two o'clock in the 
afternoon, and was conducted by Mr. A. Goldstein, the leader of 
the Herwegh Ma«nnerchor. While the body was being consumed, 
the society sang two German songs which were Schumann's 
favorites. 

When the body was reduced to ashes, they were gathered and 
placed in a golden receptacle, and as the final words were spoken, 
they were tossed into the air by Mr. R. Schueschner. The society 
then began the celebration. 

Directions for Cremation 

In these days cremation is recognized as a good and lawful way 
of disposing of our remains ; but so late as 1855 it was not so, for. 
we find Mr. William Kinsett, of London, in his will proved in 
October of that year, stating that, "believing in the impolicy of 
interring the dead amidst the living, and as an example to others, 
I give my body, four days after death, to the directors of the 
Imperial Gas Company, London, to be placed in one of their 
retorts and consumed to ashes, and that they be paid ten pounds 
by my executors for the trouble this act will impose upon them for 
so doing. Should a defence of fanaticism and superstition prevent 
their granting this my request, then my executors must submit 
to have my remains buried, in the plainest manner possible, in my 
family grave in St. John's Wood Cemetery, to assist in poisoning 
the living in that neighbourhood." 

Some time after this the matter was frequently discussed in the 
papers, and public opinion grew slowly in favor of the practice. 
But it seemed to have been generally doubted whether such a 
method was in accordance with law and the words in the Church 
Service, "Earth to earth," as in 1867 we find a testator directing 



128 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

his nephews to cause his body to be burned "if that can be legally 
done." This testamentary wish to be cremated is not confined 
to recent times, and there seems in the 18th century to have been 
no diflBculty in executors carrying out the directions in this re- 
spect in the wills under which they acted. In Dodsley's "Annual 
Register" for 1769, under date of Sept. 26, there appears the follow- 
ing statement : "Last night the will of Mrs. Pratt, a widow lady, 
who lately died at her house in George Street, Hanover Square, 
was punctually fulfilled by the burning of her body to ashes in her 
grave in the new burying-ground adjoining to Tyburn turnpike." 

Coffin coveked with Calico 

Judge E. Y. Terral, of Cameron, Texas, died in August, 1910. 
His estate was valued at eight thousand dollars. By his will, 
he directed that no funeral services be had over his body, that no 
printed notices of his death be issued, that he be buried in a co£Bn 
made from rough pine plank covered with black calico and carried 
in a wagon or hack to the cemetery, and that no marble slab be 
erected at his grave. 

Cabds and Wine at his Funekal 

A Frenchman, who was an enthusiastic card player, left to cer- 
tain of his card-playing friends a legacy of considerable size on 
condition that, after placing a deck of cards inside his coffin with 
his body, they should carry him to the grave and should stop on 
the way to drink a glass of wine at a small saloon, where he had 
passed "so many agreeable evenings at piquet." 

Will of the Sieuk Bobt 

An attempt to invalidate this will was made by the heirs of the 
testator seven years after his death, but the court pronounced in 
its favor. It is dated 1845. 

It certainly exhibits many singtilarities, and there was no con- 
testing the fact that the testator, who died at the age of ninety-six, 
had been remarkable for his eccentricities for many years. He had 
at one time possessed a fortune of about two and a half million 
dollars, and at his death left no more than $15,000 ; moreover, he 
had been placed under tutelage during the three last years of his 
life. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 129 

Several wills were foxind after his death, and the singularity of 
some of the clauses formed a plea of imbecility on the part of those 
who had expected to inherit his fortune. 

One of these was a legacy to an old priest, to whom, although he 
had in his collection many paintings of sacred subjects, he be- 
queathed a "Cupid nestling in a bouquet of roses" to remind him, 
as he said, of his youthful days. 

Towards the close of his life he manifested what is in France 
technically known as an obituary monomania, appearing entirely 
preoccupied with his death, and what was to become of his remains. 
On this subject he expressed himself thus : 

"Eight-and-forty hours after my decease I desire that a post- 
mortem examination be made ; that my heart be taken out and 
placed in an urn, which shall be intrusted to M. Baudoin (the 
undertaker). In conformity with an arrangement between him 
and myself, my heart is to be conveyed to a mausoleum in the de- 
partment of La Mayenne, and there to be deposited as agreed." 

His epitaph was written out, and in this he had allowed himself 
considerable margin, as he fixed the date of his death forty-five 
years later than it actually occurred. 

The letters of announcement were all prepared : 

"M. et Madame Lappey ont I'homieur de vous faire part de la 
perte douloureuse qu'ils viennent de faire, dans la personne de 
M. Boby, decede en sa demeure rue de Louvois 10. Les convoi, 
service et enterrement auront lieu le . . . 1890, a midi tres 
precis a Saint Roch." 

According to this date he would have been one hundred and 
forty. 

Heakt and Bkains Bequeathed 

Dr. Ellerby died in London in February, 1827. He was a 
member of the Society of Friends. He passed for being a very 
eccentric character, and all his habits bore the stamp of originality. 
In his will are to be found some singular clauses, among them the 
following : 

"Item : I desire that immediately after my death my body shall 
be carried to the Anatomical Museum in Aldersgate Street, and 
shall be there dissected by Drs. Lawrence, Tyrell, and Wardrop, 
in order that the cause of my malady may be well understood. 

"Item : I bequeath my heart to Mr. W., anatomist; my lungs 
to Mr. R. ; and my brains to Mr. F., in order that they may pre- 



130 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

serve them from decomposition ; and I declare that if these gentle- 
men shall fail faithfully to execute these my last wishes in this 
respect I will come — if it should be by any means possible — 
and torment them until they shall comply." 

This threat did not much alarm the above-named parties, for it 
appears that they unhesitatingly renounced their several legacies. 

The Eabth needed fob Corn 

John W. Wallace, of Brooklyn, New York, died on the 28th 
day of December, 1909; his will contained the following novel 
provisions, which it is reported were literally carried out: 

"I direct that my body be placed in a pine box not to cost more 
than five dollars ; placed in an express wagon and taken to a 
crematory ; that after cremation, the ashes shall be scattered in a 
field. The entire cost of the disposal of my body is not to exceed 
fifty dollars. My reason is, that I believe a man gets out of life 
all that he isi entitled to, according to the amount of brain and 
energy he puts into it, and when he dies, should not occupy ground 
that may be needed for highways, or for planting corn, or for any 
other purpose that future generations may have for it. I believe 
that when I die my money, if I have any, should go to those depen- 
dent upon me, and not into expensive coffins and flowers." 

Took no Chances 

A horror of being buried alive so haunted Mr. R. of Chicago that 
on his death he left minute instructions in his will to make such 
a fate quite impossible in his case. His body was not to be fastened 
up in his coffin till thirty days after his funeral, and the vault 
in which the body was placed was to be kept lighted and its doors 
left unlocked. Provision was also made for Uie employment of 
two men — trusted employees of the deceased— ^ who were to guard 
the entrance, one by day and the other by night. 

Hek Cabkiages bubned and Horses Shot 

Quite a number of men, both Americans and Englishmen, who 
have spent a great part of their Hves in hunting, have wished to be 
buried in their hunting dress, and this desire has been shared by 
at least one woman. An eccentric Welsh lady, who lived at a 
small place called Llanrug, was buried there in 1895 in accordance 
with the provisions of her will, which was in keeping with the local 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 131 

estimate of her character. She wished to be buried in her fox- 
hunting clothes. The rest of her clothes and her carriages were 
to be burned on the day of her funeral, and all her horses — six 
in number, varying in value from £60 to £90 each — were to be shot 
on the day following the funeral. The remainder of her real and 
personal property to the value of £90,000 was left to her "dear 
husband," — a former laborer on her estate, with whom some years 
previously she had, on her own suggestion, contracted a marriage, 
— provided that he strictly and literally carried out all the orders 
expressed in her will. 

Funeral cost Six Francs 

Some very rich men during their Uves seetn to enjoy the luxury 
of preparing at great expense the mausoleums they wish to occupy 
after death. M. Lalanne, a wealthy Parisian, went to the other 
extreme. He had a horror of anything like ostentatious funerals, 
and after bequeathing over a miUion francs to the various public 
institutions of his native city, he directed that his body be buried 
as cheaply as possible — in fact, like that of a pauper. A shabby 
one-horse vehicle conveyed his body to the fosse commune (the 
Potter's Field), and the total cost of the funeral was only six francs, 
that being the charge for the cheapest kind of funeral under the 
French system, in which the undertaker's business is a govern- 
ment monopoly. 

A Woman Hateh 

Altogether unique was the whim of a rich old bachelor, who, 
having endured much from "attempts made by my family to put 
me under the yoke of matrimony," conceived and nursed such an 
antipathy to the fair sex as to impose upon his executors the duty 
of carrying out what is probably the most ungallant provision ever 
contained in a will. The words are as follows: "I beg that my 
executors will see that I am buried where there is no woman in- 
terred, either to the right or to the left of me. Should this not be 
practicable in the ordinary course of things, I direct that they 
purchase three graves, and bury me in the middle one of the 
three, leaving the two others unoccupied." 

With the Saints on Bardset Island 

The late Lord Newborough, an Englishman, made the follow- 
ing curious provision in his will : he gave most expUcit directions 



132 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

that, after a certain period had elapsed, his body was to be exhumed 
and reinterred in Bardsey Island. This island, it will be remem- 
bered, Hes to the north of Cardigan Bay, and it is reputed to have 
had no fewer than 20,000 saints buried in its soil. 

With Both Wives 

Another individual desired to be buried in the space between 
the graves of his first and second wives ; there are numerous in- 
stances of such an adjustment in American cemeteries, and wills are 
not uncommon which provide for such last resting places. 

Too Modest fob Vivisection 

The Duchess of Northumberland, widow of the Protector, con- 
cluded her will as follows : 

"In nowise let me be opened after I am dead; I have not used 
to be very bold before women, much more would I be loth to come 
into the hands of any living man, be he physician or surgeon." 

The very reverse, we may remark, of the instructions given by 
Katherine of Aragon on her deathbed. 

Wishes of an Infidel 

In one of the wildest gorges of the Blue Ridge in western North 
Carolina, there Hved, a few years ago, a man who was a violent in- 
fidel ; when he died, it was discovered that in his will he directed 
that he should be buried on the summit of one of the loftiest peaks 
of the Blue Ridge, and that his epitaph should disclose that he 
died reviling Christianity. Instead of carrying out his wishes, his 
relatives buried him in a Christian cemetery, and on the spot where 
he desired to be buried, placed a large white cross. 

Will of John Fane 

John Fane, of Tunbridge, England, died April 6, 1488 ; 'his 
will runs : 

" My body to be buried in the church of SS. Peter and Paul, of 
Tunbridge. ... To the prior and convent of Tunbridge, to pray 
for my soul, xx s., to the high altar of the church of Tunbridge, 
XX s. ; to the structure of the rood-loft thereof, v marks. ... To 
Humphrey Fane, my brother's son, a house in fee simple, with 
a garden at the town's end of Tunbridge." 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WELLS 133 

Will of Bakhuysen the Painter 

BaMiuysen, born at Emden, in 1631, died at Amsterdam, in 
1709, was not only a celebrated painter, but a skilful engraver, 
and a not inelegant poet. There appears to have been a great 
fund of gayety in his character, and this cheerfulness did not for- 
sake him even in his old age, although he suffered from a lingering 
disease. Finding his end approaching, he ordered some of the 
best possible wine to be bought, and, having had it bottled, sealed 
the corks with his seal; he then placed in a purse seventy-eight 
gold coins, having hved that number of years, and by his will he 
invited the same number of friends — each of whom he named — 
to his funeral, begging them to accept his money and drink his wine 
with the same cordiality with which he offered it. We should 
mention that it is the custom in Amsterdam to present a glass of 
wine to guests attending at a funeral. 

Will of Heemskirk 

Another Dutch painter, Martin Heemskirk, left by his will a 
sum to provide annually a dowry for a young girl from his native 
village, on condition that, on the day of the wedding, the bride and 
bridegroom should come and dance with the wedding-guests upon 
his grave. Guy Patin relates this anecdote as having occurred 
about the middle of the seventeenth century, and declares that the 
testator's prescription was faithfully carried out as long as the 
foundation lasted. 

Will of Francois, Due De Bretagne 

In the wiU of Frangois, first duke of Brittany, drawn up at 
Vannes, January 22, 1449, occurs a curious clause relating to 
the foundations of certain masses, and particularly the mode in 
which the bells were to be rung for them : 

"... The largest bell {sain) of the said monastery (moustier) 
to be rung by twelve strokes (gobetiex) ; one stroke distant from 
the other by the space commonly occupied in saying an Ave Maria, 
and the whole time of ringing to be equivalent to the time it may 
take to recite a pater, a credo, and a miserere; and for this founda- 
tion we have appointed to the said moustier a revenue of cc livres." 

Equally curious, and very similarly expressed, are the wills 
of Pierre II., Duke of Brittany, Septembers, 1457; Marguerite 



134 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

de Bretagne, September 22, 1469 ; Ysabeau of Scotland, Duke of 
Brittany, November 16, 1482; Frangois II., Duke of Brittany, 
September 2, 1488. For these and others consult the works of 
Barnabe Brisson, 1585-1731. 

In the Shadow of an Obelisk 

An individual desired post-mortem honors in this wise : "I desire 
to be buried beneath the shadow of an obelisk, the style of which 
has been taken from ancient Egyptian civilization. I saw these 
wonderful monoUth obelisks in Egypt, sat in their shade and sighed 
to have one for my monument in my far-off home in the New 
World." On this obelisk the following inscription was directed to 
be placed : 

"Young man! Stop & Think ! 
See what has been the reward for Honesty, 
Industry & Economy. In 1840 I worked on 
Robert Martin's Farm near Jersey Shore for 
25 cts. per day. No fortune left to me. 
Lived and Died in the Faith of the Immutable 
And unchangeable Laws of Nature and Nature's 
God. Believed in the Gospel of Peace, Right, 
and Justice. 

Travelled 60,000 Miles in America, Europe, 
Asia and Africa." 

Will of the Duchess of Kingston 

Elizabeth Chudleigh, Duchess of Kingston, was celebrated for 
her beauty, her eccentricities, her taste for show and dissipation, 
and her extraordinary propensity to indulge in masculine sports 
and exercises, for her travels in Italy, Germany, and Russia, and 
her adventures generally. She passed many years in Paris, where 
she resided in the Rue Coq-H6ron, and died there 28th August,1788. 

Her will is altogether in accordance with the remarkable features 
of her character. As she was much attached to Catherine II., 
Empress of Russia, who reciprocated her friendship, she stipulated 
in her will that in case she should die at St. Petersburg she should 
be buried there, as it was fitting her remains should be there where 
her heart was. She bequeathed to the Empress a set of jewelsj and 
to the Pope a fine brilliant ; to the Countess of Salisbury she left 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WELLS 135 

a pair of superb earrings, because they had formerly belonged to 
a countess of Salisbury in the reign of Henry IV. Notwithstand- 
ing her extravagance she left a fortune of two million dollars. 

Wanted a Costly Mausoleum 

Elizabeth Bastian, a New York spinster, died in June, 1910. 
By her will she cut off her sister and two brothers with a dollar each 
and left the greater part of her fortime, $65,000, to build a mauso- 
leum in order that she might "have a splendid house to live in 
when dead." Her will has been attacked and her wishes may be 
thwarted. 

The sister and brothers of the decedent, who were bequeathed 
one dollar each by her, recently began an action in the Surrogate's 
Court to set aside the probate of Miss Bastian's will on the ground 
that she was mentally incompetent at the time of its execution. 
They assert, through John Path, their lawyer, that the aged spins- 
ter was a monomanic who Uved frugally that she might have a 
magnificent tomb in which to he after death. 

This contention, they claim, is supported by her habits in Ufe 
and the provisions of her mU. When alive, it is alleged, she de- 
lighted to take her friends to Woodlawn Cemetery, where she 
owned a $10,000 plot, and pointing to the spot would say : "There's 
where I'm going to Kve in luxury when I die." 

Her will provided that a cousin with whom she lived should 
have $500 and his wife a Kke sum. Three dollars was to be dis- 
tributed among her sister and brothers, "because I have been 
treated with abject scorn by my relatives," and $50,000 was set 
aside for the mausoleum. The rest of the New York estate was 
left in trust to the Woodlawn Cemetery Association to ornament 
and care for the mausoleum. 

Bequests of Skulls 

Many testators have bequeathed their skuUs to their friends or 
to pubhc institutions. 

Cartouche requested, when on the wheel, that his skuU might 
be preserved in the Genovevan monastery at Paris, and accord- 
ingly it is to be seen to this day in the Kbrary of that building, as 
Eugene Aram's skull is daily seen and handled in York Castle. 

Professor Morlet of Lausanne desired that his head should be 
sent to the anatomical museum of Berne, and he particularly 



136 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

requested his name should be distinctly engraven thereon, lest it 
should be mistaken for that of any other individual. 

Professor Byrd Powell, phrenologist and physician, bequeathed 
to one of his lady pupils, Mrs. Kinsey of Cincinnati, his "head to 
be removed from his body for her use, by Mr. H. T. Kekeler." 
The task of decapitation was, however, performed (some weeks 
after the body had been relegated to the vault) by Dr. Curtis. 

John Reed was gas-lighter of the Walnut Street Theatre, at 
Philadelphia, and filled this post for forty-four years, with a punctu- 
ality and fidehty rarely equalled ; there is not on record a single 
representation at which he was not present. John Reed was some- 
what of a character, and appears to have had his mute ambitions. 
As he never aspired, however, to appear on the stage in his Hfetime, 
he imagined an ingenious device for assuming a r6le in one of 
Shakespeare's plays after his decease ; it was not the ghost of Polo- 
nius, nor yet the handkerchief of Desdemona — no; it was the 
skull in HamJet, and to this end he wrote a clause in his will thus : 
"My head to be separated from my body immediately after my 
death ; the latter to be buried in a grave ; the former, duly macer- 
ated and prepared, to be brought to the theatre, where I have 
served all my life, and to be employed to rejyresent the skull of 
Yorick — and to this end I bequeath my head to the properties." 

Will of John Redman 

The last will of John Redman, who died in 1798, citizen of the 
world, of Upminster, in Essex. "... My body to be buried in the 
ground in Bunhill Fields, where my grandfather. Captain John 
Redman, of the navy, in Queen Anne's reign, lies interred. My 
grave to be ten feet deep, neither gravestone, atchment (sic), 
escutcheon, mutes, nor porters at the door, to be performed at 
seven o'clock in the morning. . . . All my wine to be drunk on 
the premises, or to be shared by and between my four executors. 
. . . Tylehurst Lodge farm, ... I devise to the eldest son of 
my second cousin, Mr. Benjamin Branfill, on condition that he, the 
eldest son, takes the name of Redman, or to his second or third 
son if the others decline it. It is hereby enjoined to the Branfills 
to keep the owner's apartment and land in hand to be a check 
on shuffling sharping tenants, who are much disposed to impoverish 
the land. . . . Having provided handsomely for my daughter, 
Mary Smith Ord, on her marriage with Craven Ord of the Curse- 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 137 

tor's Office, London, I hereby bequeath to her children born or to 
be born (the eldest son excepted, whose father will provide for him), 
the sum of two thousand pounds to each of them at the age of 
one-and-twenty, for which purpose I bequeath all my valuable 
estates at Greensted and Ongar, late Rebotiers. . . . Holding 
my executors in such esteem, I desire them to pay all the legacies 
without the wicked swindling and base imposition of stamps that 
smell of blood and carnage. . . . To Mr. French of Harpur Street, 
... a set of Tom Paine's 'Rights of Man,' bound with common 
sense, with the answers intended by the longheads of the law, 
fatheads of the Church, and wiseheads of an insolent usurping 
aristocracy. ... To that valuable friend of his country in the 
worst of times, Charles Fox, Member for Westminster, five hun- 
dred guineas. To each of the daughters of Home Tooke, five 
himdred poimds." 

CODICIL 

"I desire and direct my executors to keep my dwelling-house on for 
at least a year after my decease, and also the same with my house 
in Essex; and I do recommend them to visit Greensted Hall at 
least six times in that year, and to stop from Saturday to Monday 
morning ; to hire a light coach and an able pair of horses, set out 
betimes, and breakfast on the road, alternately to take one of their 
families, that each comer may be filled to help drink out the wine 
in the vault. The same to be observed in Hatton Garden. Ex- 
ecutors to order a dinner for themselves half -score times, to consult 
and consider the business they have in hand, and not to spare the 
wine in that cellar, and the remainder at last to be divided between 
them and carried to their respective houses." 

This will is taken from a volume published for county circulation 
by Philip John Budworth, M.A., J.P., and D.L., for the county of 
Essex, and entitled, "Memorials of the Parishes of Greensted — 
Budworth, Chipping Ongar, and High Laver." 

Will of a Bbdxellois 

A wealthy individual of Brussels, who died in July, 1824, ordered 
by his will that his body should be buried in the least expensive 
manner possible ; and that the funeral service should be that known 
as "third-class ;" but that the difference between this and a "first- 
class " ftineral should be computed, and the sum laid out in a thou- 
sand loaves, to be distributed to the poor of his parish on the day 



138 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

of his funeral, and a plaquette (value 6^ sous) to be given with 
each loaf. 

BuKiAL Customs in Atjstkia 

In the Austrian capital, Vienna, the undertakers have most suc- 
cessfully introduced the custom of dressing up the dead in satins, 
laces, and flowers, supplying appropriate costumes for maids, 
brides, wives, widows, with couches en suite, and decorations for 
the chamber of death, which is brilliantly illuminated, while the 
corpse, with face painted in the hues of health, lies there raised on 
satin pillows to receive the visits of a crowd of friends. All is done 
with great expedition, for the law only allows a delay of twenty- 
four hours between the death and burial, and all this finery has to 
be removed after the family and friends have done looking at it, 
and to be replaced by such grave-clothes as the imdertaker chooses 
to exchange for it beneath the coffin-lid. 

BUBIED IN A TbUNK 

A very singular will was opened, on the 8th of October, 1877, 
in the office of Maltre Robillart, a notary of Paris. It was that of 
a Sieur Benolt, formerly residing at Rue des Gravillers, and lately 
deceased. The last clause of it was thus worded : 

"I expressly and formally desire that my remains may be en- 
closed for burial in my large leather trunk, instead of putting my 
survivors to the expense of a coffin. I am attached to that trunk, 
which has gone round the world with me three times." 

Stbange Will of Jeremy Bentham 

Jeremy Bentham died in 1832. He was an English jurist, 
philosopher and writer of great ability. In his latter years he 
desired that his preserved figure might be placed in a chair at the 
banquet-table of his friends and disciples when they met on any 
great occasions of philosophy and philanthropy. He died, and his 
wish was carefully carried out by his favorite disciple, the late 
Dr. Southwood Smith, to whom he bequeathed his body in his will. 
Dressed in his usual clothes, wearing a gray broad-brimmed hat, 
and with his old hazel walking-stick, called Dapple (after a favorite 
old horse), the farmer-like figure of the benevolent philosopher . 
sat in a large armchair, with a smiling, fresh-colored countenance. 



ANCIENT. CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 139 

locked up In a mahogany case with a plate-glass front. This was 
his actual body preserved by some scientific process. A French 
artist made a wax mask. The real face was underneath it. 

The body of Bentham was some years ago removed to Uni- 
versity College, and placed in an out-of-the-way corner, and "Old 
Bentham " was the subject of frequent jokes among the more 
thoughtless of the students. 

This is what Dr. Southwood Smith says on the subject : 
"Jeremy Bentham," writes Dr. Southwood Smith, "left by 
will his body to me for dissection. I was also to deliver a public 
lecture over it to medical students and the public generally. The 
latter I did at Well Street School. After the usual anatomical 
demonstration a skeleton was made of the bones. I endeavoured 
to preserve the head untouched, merely drawing away the fluids by 
placing it under an air-pump over sulphuric acid. By this means 
the head was rendered as hard as the skulls of the New Zealanders, 
but all expression was gone, of course. Seeing this would not do 
for exhibition, I had a model made in wax by a distinguished French 
artist. I then had the skeleton stuffed out to fit Bentham's own 
clothes, and this wax likeness fitted to the trunk. The whole was 
then enclosed in a mahogany case with folding glass doors, seated 
in his armchair, and holding in his hand his favourite walking-stick, 
and for some years it remained in a room of my house in Finsbury 
Square. But I ultimately gave it to University College, where it 
now is." 

A Capkicious Bequest of Sixpences 

A curious custom has existed from time almost immemorial 
at St. Bartholomew's the Great, Smithfield, in the churchyard, 
which is the oldest in the city. Its anniversary is Good Friday, 
on which day the incumbent is enjoined, by the will of a lady who 
left a foundation for the purpose, to lay down twenty-one sixpences 
in a row on a particular gravestone, whence they are to be picked 
up by as many widows, kneeling, having first attended a sermon 
which is to be preached on the occasion. 

Letters and Portraits in her Coffin 

Many persons have a singular mode of disposing of objects 
for which they have too great a regard to destroy, or even 
order them after their death to be destroyed, and as a sort of half- 



140 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

measure, desire that they may be buried with them. Not long 
since a lady died, who being fondly attached to a brother she had 
lost, had his portrait, in a ponderous gilt frame (which she always 
carried about with her when she travelled), placed in her coffin 
at her death. 

Actuated by a similar sentiment, Mrs. Anna Margaret Birk- 
beck, of Inverness Terrace (who died July 2, 1877, and whose will 
and two codicils, dated January, 1868, were proved on 29th of July, 
1877), directs that the letters of her late daughters, of her late son, 
and of her late husband, both before and after her marriage, be 
buried with her. 

Will of L. Coktusio, Jueisconsultus of Padua 

We are indebted to several sources for the following testamen- 
tary document : mention is made of it by the celebrated Paolo 
de Castro; by Scardeon, who gives it more in detaU in his "Vies 
des Jurisconsultes de Padoue," book ii., chap. viii. ; in P. Ga- 
rasse's "Doctrine Curieuse," page 912; and in Dreux de Radier's 
"Recreations Historiques," tome i., page 232. 

By his last will and testament, the testator in question, Messer 
Lodovico Cortusio, forbids any of his friends and relatives to weep 
at his funeral. He among them who shall be found so weeping 
shall be disinherited ; while, on the other hand, he who shall laugh 
most heartily shall be his principal heir and universal legatee. 
It would have been superfluous to address to such a man Young's 
apostrophe — 

"Lorenzo, hast thou ever weighed a sigh. 
Or studied the philosophy of tears ? " 

It is quite evident he appreciated their value. 

The testator next prohibits that his house or the church in which 
he is to be buried should be hung with black, desiring, on the con- 
trary, that it shall be strewn with flowers and green branches on 
the day of his funeral. While his body should be borne to the 
church, he ordered that music should take the place of tolling 
bells. All the musicians (or minstrels) of the town were to be in- 
vited to his burial, however, the number was to be limited to fifty, 
and were to walk with the clergy, so many to precede, and so many 
to follow the body, and they were to make the air ring with the 
sound of lutes, violins, flutes, hautboys, trumpets, tambourines. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 141 

and other musical instruments ; the performance was to wind up 
with a hallelujah as for an Easter rejoicing, and for their services 
each was to receive the pay of half-a-crown. The body, enclosed 
in a bier covered with a cloth of divers colors which were to be 
bright and striking, was to be carried by twelve young girls habited 
in green, who were to sing cheerful and lively songs. To each of 
them the testator bequeathed a certain sum as her dowry. Young 
boys and girls were to accompany the procession carrying branches 
or palms, and were to wear on their heads crowns of flowers, while 
their voices were to join in chorus with those of the bearers. All 
the clergy belonging to the church, attended by a himdred torch- 
bearers, were to precede the procession, with all the monks in the 
town, except those whose habit was black — the express desire 
of the testator being either that they should wear a light-colored 
costume or refrain from attending, in order not to sadden the 
spectacle by an appearance of mourning. The executor appointed 
by this singular testator was solemnly charged to carry out all 
these directions in their fullest detail, or was to have no participa- 
tion in the beneficial clauses of the will. Ludovico Cortusio died 
on July 17, 1418, Festival of St. Alexis. Strange to say, his wishes 
were conscientiously complied with. He was buried in the church 
of Sta. Sophia, at Padua, the ceremony having the appearance 
rather of a wedding than of a funeral. 

Will of a Conjurer 

An individual exercising the calling of a conjurer at Rochdale, 
named Clegg, made a humorous will, in which he desired that, 
if he should escape hanging, and should die a natural death within 
two miles of Shaw Chapel, his executors, of whom he named two, 
should assemble threescore of the truest of his friends — not to in- 
clude any woman, nor yet man whose avocations compel him to 
wear a white cap or an apron, nor any man in the habit of taking 
snuff or using tobacco. Four fiddles were to attend, and the com- 
pany were to make merry and to dance. For the refreshment of 
the guests were to be provided sixty-two spiced buns and twenty 
shilKngs' worth of the best ale. 

The body, dressed in his "roast-meat" (or Sunday) clothes, was 
to be laid on a bier in the midst. As each guest arrived, sprigs of 
gorse, holly, and rosemary were to be distributed, and each was to 
receive a cake ; then all were to make merry for a couple of hours. 



142 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

The musicians were then to play, in Hvely time, the tune of 
"Britons, strike home," while glasses of gin were being handed 
round to the company ; after this the fiddlers, repeating the said 
tune, were to head the cortege, the guests to follow two-and-two, the 
whole being closed by the curate riding upon an ass, for which ser- 
vice he was to receive a fee of one guinea. No one was on any 
account to indulge in tears; and, as soon as the coffin had been 
covered over, they were to repair to the public-house at which the 
departed had been best known, and there to eat and drink as they 
pleased to the amount of thirty shillings, to be defrayed by the 
"estate." 

"No Tombstone Honors 

The late Jesse H. Griffen of Yorktown, New York, who was a 
prominent citizen of that part of the State, drew his will on a bill- 
head. Among other provisions were these : " I desire that my 
corpse be put in a plain walnut coffin and carried in an ordinary 
spring wagon, and that no tombstone be erected where my mortal 
remains are deposited. I notice that people in moderate circum- 
stances are often distressed by expensive displays at funerals, and 
tombstone honors are a truer indication of the vanity of survivors 
than of the virtues of the dead." 

Will of Philippe Bouton 

PhiUppe Bouton, bailli of Dijon, dying in 1515, desired by his 
will that fourteen girls should be found, who, being clothed in green 
cloth, — that hue being sacred to hope, — should attend at his obse- 
quies, and at all the services consequent thereon. He was buried 
in the church of Corberon. 



Will of Charles Bouton (of Poitotj) 

"I, Charles Bouton, Seigneur of Fay, desire by this my will and 
testament, that after my death the sacristans of Louhaus shall throw 
over my coffin a white winding-sheet, that they shall recite the 
psalter before carrying it into the church; that they shall have 
my body carried into the Church of St. Peter of Louhaus, where it 
shall repose one night ; that on the following morning it shall be 
placed on a waggon, such as those used for carting manure, and 
borne to my chapel of Fay and deposited within its charnel-house. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 143 

there to be left without any other light than that of four small 
tapers, each weighing half-a-pound." 

This testator does not appear to have been in any way related to 
the Phihppe Bouton cited above : he died in 1532. 

Will of an English Fabmer 

A Hertfordshire farmer inserted in his willhis written wish that 
"as he was about to take a thirty years' nap, his coffin might be 
suspended from a beam in his barn, and by no means nailed down." 
He, however, permitted it to be locked, provided a hole were made in 
the side through which the key might be pushed, so that he might 
let himself out when he awoke. However, as his death took place 
in 1720, and in 1750 he showed no signs of waking, his nephew, 
who inherited his property, after allowing him one year's grace, 
caused a hole to be dug and had the coffin put into it. 

Will of M. Helloin, Juge de Paix 

This gentleman, well known as a magistrate, and residing on his 
own landed property, close to Caen, in Normandy, France, died in 
the month of June, 1828. He was of eccentric habits, and of the 
calmest and most placid disposition. Nothing was ever known to 
ruffle his equanimity or to disturb the repose and tranquiUity of 
his domestic arrangements. He lived and died unmarried, and 
passed his hfe either reclining on a couch or lying in bed. Even 
when exercising his judicial functions he maintained this recum- 
bent attitude ; his bedroom became his audience-chamber, and he 
gave judgment in a horizontal position, his body lazily stretched out, 
and his head thrown back on a down pillow. This luxurious life, 
however, did not suffice to protect him from the inevitable lot of 
mortals ; and M. Helloin, in due time, felt that his end was not far 
off. Under these circumstances he made his will, apparently with 
the intention of proving his fideUty to his traditions, for he decreed 
thereby that "he should be buried at night, in his bed, and in the 
position in which death should surprise him — viz., with his 
mattress, sheets, blankets, pillows — and, in short, all that consti- 
tuted the belongings of a bedstead." As there was some difficulty 
in carrying out such a clause, an enormous pit was dug, and the 
deceased was lowered into his last resting-place exactly as he had 
died, nothing around or about him having been altered. Boards 



144 ANCIENT, CUEIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

were placed above the bedstead, in order that the earth, when 
filled in again, should not trouble the repose of this imperturbable 
Quietist. 

His Ashes impboved the Fishing 

A German gentleman, who was a member of a New York fishing 
club, in his will requested his fellow-fishermen, after cremating his 
body, to throw his ashes into the sea on the shoals of New York 
Bay, where he had often fished. The will was carried out to the 
letter. Although it cannot be asserted that the ashes attracted 
the fish, the fishermen related that when they again threw out their 
lines where they had sprinkled the remains of their deceased friend, 
they made an exceptionally large catch. 

BuBiED IN HIS Bed 

The Reverend Langton Freeman, rector of Bilton, Northampton- 
shire, England, desired in his will that his body should be left 
undisturbed on the bed whereon he died till it could no longer be 
kept, that it was then to be carried, bed and all, decently and 
privately to the summer-house in his own private garden at WhUtoH. 
The bed with the body on it was then to be wrapped in a strong 
double winding-sheet, and to be treated in all respects as was the 
body of our Lord. The doors and windows of the summer-house 
were then to be secured, and the building planted round with 
evergreens and fenced with dark-blue palings. This eccentric will 
was conscientiously obeyed. The fence and even the trees have 
now disappeared, and the summer-house is in ruins. Some years 
ago an entrance was effected through the roof, and the deceased 
was found completely mummified, without any wrappers, one arm 
lying down by the side, the other across the chest. 

Will of a New York Spinster 

A spinster of New York desired that all the money she should 
die possessed of, might be employed in building a church in Jber na- 
tive city, but stipulated that her remains should be mixed up in the 
mortar used for fixing the first stone. 

Will op a Rich Jewess 

A rich Jewess residing in London died in 1794. Having all her 
days regretted not to have passed her life in the ancient and cele- 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 145 

brated city illustrated by the presence and the great deeds of David, 
Solomon, the prophets, the Maccabees, and others, she resolved 
that at all events her mortal remains should await there the day of 
their resurrection. She accordingly ordered by her will that her 
body should be carried from England to Jerusalem, to be buried 
there. Two of her corehgionists estabhshed in London were 
chosen by her to accompany her body and fulfil her last wishes; 
these gentlemen were gratified each with a legacy of four hundred 
pounds to pay their expenses. 



Robert Fabtan 

There are some extremely curious and valuable clauses in this 
will which would be too long to transcribe, and probably tedious to 
the majority of readers. It is dated 1511. Those who wish to 
read it in its entirety are referred to vol. ii., "Testamenta Vetusta," 
page 498. 

We wiU confine ourselves to a portion of his instructions for his 
"little tumbe of freestone, upon the which I will be spent liij s. iv d. 
att the moast; and in the face of this tumbe I will be made too 
plates of laten, ii figurys of a man and a woman, with x men chil- 
dren and vi women children ; and over and above the said figurys I 
will be made a figure of the Fader of Heven, inclosed in a sonne ; 
and from the man figure I will be made a roUe toward the said figure 
of the Fader, and in hit to be graven, ' O Pater in coelis ; ' and from 
the figure of the woman another lyke rolle, whereyn to be graven, 
'Hos tecum pascere velis ; ' and at the feet of the said figurys I 
will be graven thes ix verses folowing : 

" ' Preterit ista dies origo secundi 
An labor, an requies ; sic transit gloria mtmdi. 
Like as the day hys cours doeth consume 
And the new morrow spryngith agayn as fast, 
So man and woman by naturys costume 
This lyfe doo pass and last in erth ar cast 
In joye and sorrowe in whiche here theyr tyme did wast 
Never in oon state but in co's transitorey 
Soo full of chaunge is of this worlde the glory.' 

"And before upon the said tumbys border I will be written these 
words following : 



146 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

" ' Tumulus Roberti Fabyan dudum pannarius ac Aldermannus 
London qui obiit. . . . Fevr. . . .'" 

The above directions were to be followed in the event of the 
testator's dying and being buried "within the Citye of London," 
but if buried in the church of Heydon Eamon, the grave is to 
be much more elaborately decorated, according to instructions 
further given to his executors, who can have had no sinecure, for 
this same alderman-draper seems to have been possessed of con- 
siderable landed and other property. 

We find it throughout all these earUer wills the custom to be- 
queath not only beds with all their furniture, but wearing apparel, 
which in those days were so costly as to be considered valuable heir- 
looms ; probably also the fashion of these articles did not undergo 
such rapid changes as in our own day. 

An Exacting and Peculiar Will 

After an eventful life as soldier, linguist, "rain-maker," Deputy 
Commissioner of Patents, man of affairs, and wealthy patent attor- 
ney, Robert G. Dryenforth, of Washington, D.C., died July 4, 
1910. His will is one of the most unusual instruments ever offered 
for probate in the United States : his estate is a large one and is 
left to an eight-year-old foster son, Robert St. George Dryenforth, 
subject to conditions of a remarkable character : 

The lad is to get practically the entire estate — provided he 
conscientiously complies with all conditions — when he reaches 
the age of twenty-eight. Robert St. George will be busily occupied 
for the intervening twenty years in complying with conditions. 

Here are some of them. 

He must not associate with one Jennie Dryenforth or her daugh- 
ter. Rose Marie Kiiowlton. Should he do so, the estate goes to 
Wilham H., Harold and Robert Dryenforth, who are named as 
executors. 

The above-named executors will also share the estate in the event 
Robert St. George thoughtlessly dies before he reaches the given age. 

The boy must be trained right from the start to shy at the wiles 
of women. If he must marry, he must not marry beneath him. 

The will says : 

"I particularly request my executors to thoughtfully and well 
guard my beloved son from women, and sensibly, that is, gradually, 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 147 

through no erratic extreme, to let him be informed and know the 
artful and parasitical nature of most of the unfortunate sex, and to 
care that he does not marry beneath him." 

The lad must keep his face between the covers of a book for a great 
portion of these twenty years. He will become a confirmed burner 
of the midnight oU. Here is the programme, duly mapped out in 
the will : 

He must be prepared to enter high school at the age of fourteen. 

At the age of eighteen he must be ready to enter Harvard, there 
to take a special course fitting him for Oxford University. 

In the meantime, the boy must be taken to see one country in 
Europe each year. 

As soon as he graduates from Oxford, the boy is to hasten 
back to these shores and to enter immediately the United States 
Military Academy, complete the course and serve the required 
time in the army. 

After he has well and patiently performed these preliminary 
tasks, the young man is then required to take up the practice of 
law, at which profession he may while his time away until he reaches 
the twenty-eighth milestone. Upon that happy and long-delayed 
day, the executors will take an inventory, and if the stewardship of 
Robert St. George has been good, he will receive talents an hundred 
fold. 

Scattered about through the will are minor restrictions, having 
to do with the boy's reKgion and habits. The lad must be reared a 
Protestant EpiscopaUan. He will have no difficulty whatever in 
picking his faith, his father having attended to this detail before 
he departed this life. 

In no event is the boy to be permitted to become a Catholic, 
and the executors are further charged with the duty of seeing that 
the late Lawyer Dryenforth's remains are not interred in a CathoKc 
cemetery nor in Arlington. 

A graduating scale of allowances for the boy's maintenance also 
has been carefully worked out in the will. Until he is twelve years 
of age Robert St. George must not overdraw an account of $50 
monthly. After that age, $1000 yearly is set aside for his support 
and education. Later, the amount is to be increased to $1500 
per year, which will help some in event Robert St. George is not im- 
mediately retained by some of the big corporations as soon as he 
hangs out his shingle as a lawyer. 



148 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Dame Matjd De Sat 

Dame Maud, daughter of Guy, Earl of Warwick, widow of 
Geoffrey, Lord Say, Admiral of the King's Fleet, died Tuesday 
next after the Feast of the Apostles Simon and Jude, 1369. Her 
will recites : 

"My body to be buried in the Church of the Friars Preachers 
of London, near Edmond, my loving husband; to the Friars 
there X pounds, and I desire that no feast be made on my 
funeral day, but that immediately after my decease my corpse 
shall be carried to burial, covered only with a linen cloth, having 
a red cross thereon, with two tapers, one at the head and an- 
other at the feet." 

A Mother's Pathetic Affection 

A lady, who was a singularly affectionate mother, lost two of her 
children, one aged three, the other five ; their remains were carried 
with the usual ceremonies to the family vault, but she found it im- 
possible to part with them, and having obtained the permission of 
the clergyman to have them exhumed, she had the two little coffins 
carried back to the house, and glass hds made to them. They were 
kept in a room set apart for the purpose, and remained there until 
her death — a period of a quarter of a century. On that event 
they were again buried by one of her sons, a clergyman, who, having 
been born long after their death, used to remark : "There was 
not probably another clergyman who could say he had buried two 
people who died before he was born." 

Will of Mh. Geeftulke 

An individual named Greftulke, who entertained a great dread 
of being buried alive, added to his will this clause : "I do not wish 
to be buried ; but desire that my body be embalmed, and placed in 
a coffin, the lid of which shall be glazed ; also I desire it be not 
nailed down, so that my body may not be deprived of air and light. 
Ultimately it may be buried, if the law permit." 

This will was proved October, 1867, and signed John Louis 
Greftulke. 

Will of Thomas Hollis 

This testator, Thomas Hollis of Cusicombe, Dorsetshire, England, 
ordered his corpse to be buried in one of his cornfields, ten feet 
below the surface, and the ground to be immediately ploughed, 
so that no trace of the spot might remain. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 149 

WiuL, OF Mes. Makla. Redding 

This lady's behests are suflSciently singular to be recorded here : 
"If," she writes, "I should die away from Branksome, I desire that 
my remains, after being duly placed in the usual coffins {i.e. first a 
leaden and then an elm one), be enclosed in a plain deal box, and 
conveyed by goods train to Poole. Let no mention be made of the 
contents, as the conveyance will then not be charged more for than 
an ordinary package. From Poole station let it be brought in a 
cart to Branksome tower, and it will be found the easiest way to get 
the coffin out of the house will be to take out one of the dining- 
room windows." This will was probated in 1870. 

The Will of the Dowager Countess of Sandwich 

This will provides against those useless inventions, which only 
serve to aggravate the grief of the survivors, and to swell the 
extortionate charges of the upholsterers of death. She therefore 
forbids "all grotesque paraphernalia, desiring only to be buried 
quietly and decently, with no scarfs, hatbands, or other excuses 
for fraud and cheating." 

Horror of Darkness 

A Vienna millionnaire seemed to have a horror of darkness, for he 
provided that not only the vault in which his body was to be placed 
should be lighted by electricity, but the coffin should be similarly 
illimiined. 

Will of La Duchesse D'Olonne 

This lady, whose life was full of eccentricities, seems to have 
been determined to signalize her departure from the world by the 
singularity of her testamentary dispositions. 

She desired in her will, probated in 1776, that her body should be 
carried into the principality of Lux, situated in Basse Navarre, and 
about two hundred and fifty miles from Paris. So far there was 
nothing very extraordinary ; but she also desired to be followed by 
a very long procession, which was to consist of six mourning-coaches 
draped with black, for the family and the ecclesiastics, and of two 
hundred persons bearing torches, who were to receive a crown a 
day. The cortege was to walk at a solemn pace, and not to make 
more than five leagues per day, and at every five leagues, or as near 



150 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

that distance as it was possible to find a convenient resting-place, 
a funeral service was to be celebrated before the procession started 
again, and every church where such service should be held was to 
be hung with black. 

What the cost of all this ceremony amounted to may be com- 
puted by the cost of the carriages alone, the hire of which amounted 
to eighteen thousand francs. 

By another article in her will, the duchess devises liberal dona- 
tions and annuities to her servants, proportioned to their services, 
but at the same time she sends them into exile ; for she assigns to 
each a fixed residence at a certain distance from Paris, so that they 
shall be all separated from each other, and she specifies that they 
can only receive such annuities in the locahty appointed them, and 
on condition that they shall make that their residence, because, as 
she alleges, she does not wish them to congregate together, and talk 
about her affairs and her character. 

She left fifteen thousand francs to the poet Robbe, whom she 
lodged and supported in Paris, though it is difficult to discover on 
what grounds she patronized a man of such mediocre merit. 

Lady Nicotine 

A young lady of Kentucky exhibited a depth of sentiment rarely 
equalled, when she directed in her will that tobacco should be 
planted over her grave, that the weed, nourished by her dust, 
might be smoked by her bereaved lovers. 

Forget John Underwood 

On the 6th of May, 1735, was buried at Wittesca, Mr. John 
Underwood, of Lexington. The body was lowered into the 
grave at five o'clock, and as soon as the prayers were concluded 
a marble tablet was fixed at the extremity of the grave, bearing 
this inscription: 

Non omnis moriar, 

JOHN UNDERWOOD 

May 6, 1735. 

All the detail of the interment was in strict accordance with the 
testamentary prescriptions of the deceased, and proceeded as fol- 
lows : As soon as the grave was filled up and covered with turf, the 



ANCffiNT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 151 

six friends who, by his desire, had attended on the occasion, sang 
the last stanza of the twentieth ode of the second book of Horace : 

" Absint inani funere noenise, 
Luctusque turpes et querimonise ; 
Compesce clamorem, ac sepulcri 
Mitte supervacuos honores." 

No bell was tolled ; no relative was present ; the bier was painted 
green, and the body was laid on it dressed in ordinary clothes ; be- 
neath the head was placed a copy of Horace, at his feet a Milton, 
on hi's right hand a small Greek Bible, with his name on the binding 
in gilt letters, on the left a smaller edition of Horace, with the in- 
scription "Musis amicus, J.U.," and under his shoulders Bentley's 
Horace. When the ceremony was concluded, his friends returned 
to his house, where his sister awaited them, and all sat down to an 
elegant supper ; after it was over, the company joined in singing the 
thirty-first ode of the first book of Horace : 

" Quid dedicatum poscit ApoUinem vates ? " 

Then they drank gayly for some time, but retired at eight o'clock. 
Mr. John Underwood bequeathed about fifty thousand dollars to 
his sister, on condition that she should carry out faithfully the con- 
ditions of his will. He left $50 to each of his friends, requesting 
them not to wear mourning; then came the singular directions, 
which were carried out as above, and the will concluded thus: 
"... This done, I request my friends to separate, after drinking 
cheerfully together, and to think no more of John Underwood." 



Without Pomp ob Vainglokt 

Joan, Lady Bergavenny, whose will is dated 10th of January, 
1434, wills "that my body be kept unburied in the place where it 
happeneth me to die, imto the time my 'maygne' (household) be 
clothed in black, my hearse, my chare, and other convenable pur- 
veyance made, and then to be carried unto the place of my burying 
before rehearsed, with all the worship that ought to be done unto a 
woman of mine estate, which God knoweth well proceedeth not 
of no pomp or vain glory, that I am set in for my body, but for a 
memorial and remembrance of my soul to my kin, friends, servants, 
and all other. . . ." 



152 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Desibed Beautiful Scenebt 

Lord Camelford, the famous duellist, wrote a codicil to his will, by 
which he desired that his body "should not be buried within city 
walls or the haunts of men, but should be removed to a far-distant 
spot, where the surrounding scenery might smile upon his remains." 
The Lake of St. Lampierre, in Switzerland, was the spot selected. 
On the borders of this lake was a sloping bank marked by three trees. 
The testator designated the centre one as that under which he had 
passed many hours meditating on the mutability of human a£Fairs, 
and he requested that this might be carefully removed, his body in- 
terred beneath it, and the tree replaced. These, his last wishes, were 
faithfully executed. 

Will of Richaed-sans-Peue 

This brave Duke of Normandy had prepared his tomb, many 
years before his death, in the Abbey of Fecamp, and ordered that his 
burial should be conducted with the utmost simplicity. So great 
was his humility that he expressed his wishes as follows : " Je 
veulx estre enseveli devant I'huys de I'^glise, afin d'etre coneulqui 
(trodden under foot) de tous les entrans dans I'^glise." These, his 
last wishes, were executed ; but some years after an Abbot of Fe- 
camp, considering that "a si digne personnage plus decente sepul- 
ture appartenait," had his body exhumed and buried in front of the 
altar. 

Fifteen Maidens with Torches 

Frangois de la Palu Varembon, Seigneur de Beaumont sur Vin- 
geanne, in Burgundy, made, in 1456, a will by which he testifies 
his objection to lugubrious colors at his interment ; desiring that 
fifteen maidens of the very poorest of his vassals, clothed in white 
cloth at the expense of his estate, each wearing a scarlet hood and 
carrying a torch of three pounds' weight, should walk in procession 
before the body, and that his heirs shall also wear white at his fu- 
neral and at every successive anniversary of his death. He further 
orders that four wax candles, of twenty -five pounds' weight each, 
shall be placed at the corners of his coflBn. 

Body carried to a Cafe 

One September afternoon, in 1874, an empty hearse was seen 
standing at about four o'clock at the entrance of the salons of the 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 153 

Cafe Riche, Rue Le Peletier. On inquiry it was found that a fre- 
quenter of this famous establishment had inserted in his will a 
clause to this effect : 

"I desire that on the day of my burial I may be carried round by 
the Rue Le Peletier, to visit once more the table where I have spent 
so many of the pleasantest hours of my life." 

As we have seen, this singular wish was respected by the survivors 
of the testator. 

Barber not wanted 

The will, dated January 9th, 1873, of Mr. Richard Christopher 
Carrington, late of Churt, near Farnham, Surrey, England, astron- 
omer, who died on the previous November 27th, was proved by 
Mrs. Esther Clarke Carrington, the mother of the deceased, the 
personal estate being sworn under £20,000. The testator desired 
to be buried at a depth of between ten and twelve feet in the 
grounds surrounding his own freehold house at Churt, at an ex- 
pense not exceeding £5, without any service being read over his 
grave, and without any memorial being erected to his memory; 
and he directed that after his death neither his chin be shaved nor 
his shirt changed. He bequeathed to the Royal Society and the 
Royal Astronomical Society £2000 Three Per Cent. Consolidated 
Bank Annuities each, both free of legacy duty. 

Young Lady's Picturesque Funerai. 

A somewhat imusual funeral cortege astonished the inhabitants 
of Brighton, England, traversing it from the west end to the rail- 
way station, one morning in the autumn of 1879. Concerning 
it some very romantic, highly imaginative, but somewhat incor- 
rect rumors gained currency. The funeral was that of a young 
lady, named Ellen Elizabeth Parren, the daughter of William 
Parren, Esq., of Beckenham, in Kent, who had arrived in Brighton 
that day week, on a visit to her uncle. Captain Dunhill, of 
Brunswick Road. Though delicate, she was thought to be in her 
usual health; but on the following Monday she died somewhat 
suddenly. The deceased young lady, being a great favorite both in 
her own family and amongst her friends, it was decided that the 
obsequies should not partake of that gloomy and melancholy char- 
acter which is the usually accepted mode of burial, but that it 
should be more inspiring and hopeful in its tone. The handsome 



154 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

funeral car was drawn by four grays, in the place of black horses, 
and the funeral coaches were represented by three landaus, each 
drawn by a pair of grays. The coffin, having been placed upon the 
car, was covered by a handsome white-and-gold pall, upon which 
were laid a number of beautiful wreaths of white flowers. The 
cortege as thus arranged left Brunswick Boad, Hove, for the raiU 
way station, and then proceeded to Croydon. Here, the funeral 
procession having been rearranged and augmented by two other 
landaus drawn by pairs of grays and a number of private carriages, 
proceeded to Norwood Cemetery, where the remains were laid in 
the grave, the service being performed by two Nonconformist 
ministers, the Rev. Mr. Eldridge and the Rev. Mr. Jenkinson. 
The coffin was of polished oak, with plated silver ornaments and 
inscription plate, the latter having upon it the following: "Ellen 
Elizabeth, daughter of Wm. Parren, Esq., died August 25, 1879, 
aged 25." 

To cuHTAiL Funeral Bills 

The will of Mr. Francis Offley Martin, formerly of Lincoln's Inn, 
but late of 89 Onslow Gardens, one of the Charity Commissioners 
for England and Wales, who died on December 4th, 1878, was 
proved by William Smith, the sole executor, the personal estate 
being sworn under £7000. The testator, in his directions for his 
funeral, provides that no scarfs or hatbands be used or given away 
on the occasion either to the clergyman or any other person, as he 
wishes to break through the custom of running up funeral bills ; and 
he declares that this prohibition is to extend also to gloves. 

Full Dbess Uniform 

The late Surgeon-Major Wyatt, C.B., of the Coldstream Guards, 
who did good service to suflfering humanity in Paris after the siege 
in 1871, desired in his will to be buried in the full-dress uniform 
of the regiment in which he had passed the greater part of his useful 
and honorable life. A Bible presented to him by his wife was to 
be placed in his coffin, and the horses used at his funeral were not 
to be "decorated" — plumed and draped, we presume — in any 
manner ; the mutes and other attendants were not to wear hat- 
bands or scarfs ; each person attending his funeral was to wear 
in token of mourning only a black band of medium width — crape 
for relatives and cloth for friends ; the gloves were to be black ; 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 155 

but each person in the procession was to wear a camellia or other 
white flower in his buttonhole, as it was the worthy surgeon-major's 
wish that the ceremony "should be as free as possible from all 
gloomy associations, and to be considered more as an occasion for 
rejoicing than for mourning." Consonant with this leading idea 
was the expressed wish that no kind of widow's cap or weeds 
should be worn by his reKct, and no particle of crape should appear 
on the garments of his relations. Side by side with this, pubUca- 
tion was given to a will announcing the desire of another testator 
to be buried with a hearse surmounted by sable ostrich-plumes, 
with horses duly panachSs and caparisoned, mutes and bearers 
and "pages," scarfs and flowing hatbands and brazen-tipped 
staves, and all the rest of that elaborate panoply of woe which finds 
so much favor in the eyes, and affords such comfortable entries 
in the books, of old-established undertakers. Quot homines, tot 
sententicB, thus every man seems to be of a different mind concern- 
ing the ordering of his funeral. 

Undee the Oak Trees 

Sir Charles Hastings requested that his body might "not be 
cofllned, but swathed in any coarse stuff that would hold it to- 
gether, and then buried in a spot designated by him. That the 
ground should then be planted with acorns, so that he might render 
a last service to his country by contributing to nourish some good 
English oaks." 

An AsNOBMAii Burial 

Lord Truro, of England, whose residence was at Falconhurst, on 
the summit of Shooter's Hill, afforded a novel example of funeral 
simplicity. On the demise of Lady Truro, Lord Truro having, 
according to her desire, placed the body in a Ughtly constructed 
box, so that the process of decay might not be arrested, buried it 
himself in a grave dug in the lawn fronting the house, at a spot 
she had selected for the purpose. The grave is about four feet 
deep, and a marble monument has been raised upon it. 

Protected his Whiskers 

Valentine Tapley, owner of the longest beard in the world, died 
Saturday, April 2, 1910, at his home, Spencerburg, Pike County, 
Missouri. He was eighty years old. It is said that when Lincoln 



156 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

was a candidate for the Presidency, Mr. Tapley, who was a Demo- 
crat, made a vow that if Lincoln was elected he would never cut his 
beard. The length of his beard was 123^ feet for several years 
prior to his death. This is said to be longer than any other beard 
known. Mr. Tapley took great pride in his whiskers, and wore 
them wrapped in silk and wound about his body. During the 
latter part of his life he was apprehensive his grave would be 
robbed for his whiskers, and in his will he made provision for a 
tomb of extra strength to guard against this. Mr. Tapley declined 
several offers to exhibit his beard. He was a large owner of Pike 
County farming land, and died wealthy. 

Dastaeds and Fools 

In France, not long ago, died an eccentric Frenchman who de- 
clared the French to be "a nation of dastards and fools." For 
that reason, he devised the whole of his fortune to the people of 
London, and directed that his body be thrown into the sea a mile 
from the English coast. An attempt was made to have him ad- 
judged insane when he made the will, but it failed. 

Recipe and Restitution 

Another Frenchman directed that a new cooking recipe should 
be pasted on his tomb every day ; and still another Frenchman, a 
lawyer, left fifty thousand dollars to a lunatic asylum, declaring 
that it was simply an act of restitution to the cHents who were 
insane enough to employ his services. 

To the Fotir Winds 

A queer request was made by a German who died in Pittsburgh, 
Pennsylvania, in 1887. By his will, he directed that his body 
should be cremated and the ashes forwarded to the German Consul 
at New York, who was to deliver them to the captain of the 
steamship Elbe. When in mid-ocean, the captain was to request 
a passenger to dress himself in nautical costume, and, ascending 
with the funeral urn to the topmast, to scatter the ashes to the 
four winds of heaven. And these strange directions were literally 
carried out. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 157 

Their Ashes into the Mississippi Riveb 

During the last twenty-five years, the great Eads Bridge, which 
spans the Mississippi River at St. Louis, Missouri, has been 
favored as a spot by those who desired that their mortal ashes 
should be scattered to the winds. On more than one occasion, 
could have been seen unusual gatherings on the bridge, and after 
certain religious formalities, human ashes have been deposited in 
the river. 

The latest ceremony of this kind occurred on Sunday, January 
29, 1911 : Joel Braunmiller, an eccentric old bachelor, lived alone 
in a large house on his farm, eight miles north of Mary ville, Missouri. 
He died recently, and left a large estate to his brothers and sisters. 
The following clause was contained in his will : 

"I direct that after my death, my body be shipped by express 
to St. Louis, Mo., and there cremated and my ashes strewn to the 
winds from the south side of the Eads Bridge over the river." 

On the date named, Charles R. Lupton, an undertaker of St. 
Louis, with an urn containing the ashes of Mr. Braunmiller, leaned 
over the south parapet of the bridge, tipped the urn gradually, 
and let the ashes fall into the river. The wind, whirling about the 
piers and buttresses of the great bridge, caught up the ashes and 
flung them in every direction. When the urn had been emptied, 
it, too, was dropped into the river. 

Mr. S. H. Kemp, Cashier of the Maryville National Bank, who 
was a close friend of Mr. Braunmiller, and also the executor of his 
will, stood close beside the undertaker to see that the ceremony 
was carried out according to the wishes of the deceased. There 
were also present relatives of the deceased, who had come from 
various parts of the United States. 

Ruling Passion Strong in Death 

The wife of Mr. Fisher Dilke, of England, brother-in-law to Sir 
Peter Wentworth, one of the regicide judges, was interred in the 
year 1660 in a very singular way. 

Her husband caused her coffin to be made of the wooden pal- 
ings of his barn, and bargaining hard with the sexton beat him 
down from " a shilling" (the usual sum) to a groat (fourpence) ; he 
avoided the expense of bearing by begging four of his friends and 
neighbors to discharge this office. Having assembled them he 
read to them a chapter of the book of Job, arid then distributed 



158 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

to them the contents of a bottle of Burgundy and sixpennyworth 
of spiced cakes. As there was no ecclesiastic present, Dilke him- 
self, who acted as chief mourner, took up the spade, and as soon 
as the coffin was lowered, threw earth upon it, repeating the usual 
words, "Dust to dust," etc., adding, "Lord, now lettest thou," 
etc. Then the party returned home. 
• 

5 
MISCELLANEOUS 

" Learn to live well, or fairly make your will ; 

You've played, and loved, and eat, and drank your fill : 
Walk sober off ; before a sprightlier age 

Comes titt'ring on, and shoves you from the stage." 

Her Adorable Nose 

A certain individual, one of the Vanderbilts, left to a lady a 
bequest in these words : "I supplicate Miss B. to accept my whole 
fortune, too feeble an acknowledgment of the inexpressible sensa- 
tions which the contemplation of her adorable nose has produced 
on me." 

Remembered the Police Station 

Not long ago a will was contested in New York, because the 
testatrix had bequeathed a grand piano, several oil paintings, and 
five pieces of Japanese pottery to a police station. The protest- 
ing heir won the case, and there was a reversion of these art treas- 
ures to the natural heirs. 

All smiled Sweetly 

A certain will reads, "to that amiable young lady. Miss Blank, 
who smiles so sweetly in the street when we meet, I give Twenty- 
Five Hundred Dollars." Now in the Blank family, there were six 
sisters ; they all claimed to be " the amiable young lady," but which 
of them got the legacy, history sayeth not. 

A Salutation Directed 
Pursuant to the will of Sir John Salter, who died in the year 1605, 
and who was a good benefactor to the Company, the beadles and 
servants of tiie Worshipful Company of Salters are to attend at 
St. Magnus' Church, London Bridge, in the first week in October, 
and knock upon his gravestone, with sticks or staves, three times 
each person, and say, "How do you do. Brother Salter? I hope 
you are well." 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 159 

No Underclothes in Winter 

A crabbed old German professor, who died at Berlin in 1900, 
entertaining a great dislike for his sole surviving relative, left his 
property to him, but on the absolute condition that he should 
always wear white Hnen clothes at all seasons of the year, and 
should not supplement them in winter by extra undergarments. 

Had $100, gave awat $700,000 

A singular will was that of Miss Cora Johnson, who resided in an 
apartment at No. 819 Beacon Street, Boston, and who died in 
September, 1910, at a hospital in that city. The value of her 
entire possessions, when inventoried, was found not to exceed $100, 
and she was buried by friends ; yet, by her will, she created be- 
quests and legacies amounting to $700,000 ; she claimed that she 
was entitled to a large fortune from the estate of an unnamed 
person Uving in New York. 

Miss Johnson, it is claimed, never revealed the name of this 
person, and even her attorney, who drew her will, was not ac- 
quainted with it ; all she disclosed was that she expected a large 
estate from a wealthy, elderly woman, who made her will in her 
favor and became insane, and was in a sanitarium in New York, 
and this will could not be changed by reason of the insanity of 
the testator. Evidently, she had a firm conviction that the estate 
must reach her, in any event. 

That part of the will referring to the promised miUions reads : 

"Whereas it is possible that at the time of my decease I shall not 
be the owner of property sufiBcient in amount to pay the foregoing 
bequests, and 

"Whereas I have been credibly informed and believe that there 
is in existence a certain will made by a person now an inhabitant 
of the city and state of New York by which will certain property is 
devised and bequeathed to me, and 

"Whereas I have been credibly informed and believe that in said 
will it is provided, that in case I shall die before the maker of said 
will, the property therein bequeathed and devised to me, shall pass 
to and be paid over and delivered to the persons, corporations and 
objects which I shall in my last will name, select and appoint : 

"Now, therefore, I do hereby exercise any and all powers of 
appointment contained in and given to me by any such will by 
any person if any such will there be, desiring and intending that 



160 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

whether or not I survive the maker of said will, the persons, cor- 
porations and institutions hereinbefore named shall be benefited 
in accordance with and to the extent of the terms of this instru- 
ment, either as legatees hereunder in case of my survival of the 
maker of said wiU, or as my appointees thereunder in case of my 
predecease." 

His Earthly Happiness 

An old bachelor, on dying, left the whole of his property to three 
ladies to whom he had proposed marriage, and who had refused 
him. The reason for this bequest, he stated, was that by their 
refusal, "to them I owe all my earthly happiness." 

Must pay for heb Drinks 

Mr. Davis, of Clapham, England, left the sum of 5s. "to Mary 
Davis, daughter of Peter Delaport, which is sufficient to enable 
her to get drunk for the last time at my expense." 

Imaginary Wife and Children 

A Mr. George, resident of one of the British Colonies, wljo died 
possessed of a large property, contrived to puzzle the brains of his 
executors by imagining and inserting in his will two heirs who had 
no existence but in his brain. After bequeathing his worldly 
goods in the usual form, he named as his residuary legatees a son 
and daughter, whom he stated to be his children by a beautiful 
Circassian he had married at Plymouth in St. Peter's Church. He 
added that, though the lady had subsequently eloped with a 
parson, he bore no ill-will to the children, whom she had taken with 
her, but should be glad to think they would be traced and apprised 
of their good fortune. 

The whole romance turned out to be a complete fabrication, 
but not until it had severely tried the patience of the executors. 

This Foolish World a Dream 

Harris Bletzer, who died on August 21, 1910, at his home, 
35 Moore Street, Brooklyn, N.Y., worth about $10,000, had pretty 
definite ideas as to how he wanted his money to go after his death, 
and he also had come to the conclusion that, after all, this was a 
foolish world and a dream, so he wrote down in Hebrew his philo- 
sophical conclusions and had it properly attested as his last will 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 161 

and testament. This remarkable document has been translated for 
Surrogate Ketcham's benefit, and it has been offered for probate. 

Mr. Bletzer wants his wife to have all his money for her lifetime, 
and she isn't to be dictated to by anybody, either, as to what she 
does with it, the testator says, for she worked for it as hard as 
her husband did. But he says that when their two daughters, 
Sarah and Mazie, get married, their mother can spend $2000 upon 
each of them, and it shall be considered as their share of their 
father's estate. After the widow dies, then the money is to be 
divided among the sons. The reason for his opinion of life is 
given in language not quite grammatical, as follows : 

"Lying in my bed, with my weak strength, and figured out with 
a clear mind and a clear conscience, man going through his life in 
this foolish world; so I have decided, with my full reason, that 
the entire world is a dream. The years run by and the day of 
leave-taking is expected, and I have decided to declare what shall 
be done with my Uttle wealth which I have accumulated by my 
sweat through my hard work." 

It paid to be Heavy 

A Scotchman left to each of his daughters her weight in one- 
pound bank notes. By this provision, one daughter, being stouter 
than the other, received $30,000 more than her sister. 

Opposed to Mustaches 

Mr. Fleming, an upholsterer, of Pimlico, by his will, proved in 
1869, left £10 each to the men in his employ — those who did not 
wear mustaches ; those who persisted in wearing them to have £5 
only. 

Must be Tall 

The county of Yorkshire in England is noted for its tall men, 
and a resident of that county left his entire estate to those of his 
descendants who were not less than six feet four inches in height. 

Newspaper Reading Prohibited 

A Vienna banker made a bequest to his nephew with the stipula- 
tion that "he shall never, on any occasion, read a newspaper, his 
favorite occupation." 



162 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

A Beam and Bell 
The will of Reginald atte Pette, of Stoekbury, dated 12th of 
January, 1456, is in part as follows : " Item, I bequeath toward the 
making of a new beam in the Church of Stoekbury, xiii s. iiii d. ; 
towards a new bell called trebyll vi s. viii d. ; towards the work 
of the new isle in the aforesaid Church iv marcs ; and towards the 
making of a new window there xx s. Witnesses, John Petytt, Nich. 
Cowstede, Adomar atte Pette, Thomas atte Pette, Peter atte Pette,. 
Christopher, Clerk of the Parish there. Vicar of Stoekbury." 

Must become an Actress 

A maiden lady over fifty years of age, with a strong aversion to 
all theatrical amusements, was scandalized by being put down for 
a legacy in the will of a facetious friend, who attached the condi- 
tion that within six months of the testator's death the legatee 
obtain an engagement at a theatre and must perform there for one 
whole week. 

Will sustained. Codicil rejected 

A Protestant clergyman, the Reverend John Markhouse, aged 
70, bequeathed £12,000 for the purpose of establishing a school for 
illegitimate children only, at Bradchurch, Hants, England. He 
added a codicil providing for educational expenses by a further 
sum of £8000. The disappointed relatives appealed against the 
will ; but the court, strangely enough, decided in favor of the will 
and against the codicil, on consideration of the plea that towards 
the close of his life he had appeared eccentric enough to justify 
the conclusion that he was not of sound mind when he wrote the 
latter. Nevertheless the sequitur seems logical enough. 

Music 

An Englishman, Richard Lane, otherwise Tomson, by his will, 
dated 24th of July, 1619, gave to one of the deacons of the Cathe- 
dral Church of Hereford 40s. yearly forever, to prick fairly into 
books, songs, and church service, for the use of the same church ; 
and upon his coming every half-year for his wages, he should bring 
with him the sub-chanter of the choir, who would show to him who 
had the payment of the money, what he had done in that business 
the half-year last past ; and if he should be found negligent therein, 
then the payment for that time should be given to twelve poor 
men the Saturday next following. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 163 

Repeat the Catechism on Cheistmas Day 

Robert Barber, Cambridgeshire, England, by will, dated 21st of 
June, 1818, gave unto the minister of Haslingfield and the tenant 
of the farm, on which Mr. Wallace then lived, £20 in trust, to be 
placed out at interest, upon good security, and the interest thereof 
to be by them given every year after his decease unto that child 
under the age of thirteen years, who should most perfectly repeat 
the Catechism, on Christmas Day. 

A Plain Case 

The will of E. J. Halley was filed for probate in October last at 
Memphis, Tennessee. It would seem from attendant circumstances 
that Mr. Halley was not a teetotaler, and that prohibition is not 
entirely effective in Tennessee. 

Mr. Halley was the foster son of a lady known as "Joanna Mad- 
den, the hermit" : contrary to the rule in such matters, this hermit 
left a large estate, consisting of gold and silver snugly put away 
in her home ; a squad of policemen escorted the money to a local 
bank ; this Mr. Halley received, but he did not live long to enjoy 
it ; but it is reported, however, that he did enjoy it while he Hved. 
Death came, and by his will, duly executed, he left the estate to 
schoolmates, nurses, favorite baseball players, deputy sheriffs, and 
a few orphan asylums, for good measure ; with some of the lega- 
tees he was not acquainted. Among other provisions in this 
highly interesting testament, may be recited the following : 

"To the nurse who kindly removed a pink monkey from the 
foot of my bed, $5000." 

"To the cook at the hospital who removed snakes from my 
broth, $5000." 

The heirs at law reached the conclusion that too high a value had 
been put upon these services and temporary friendships, and filed 
a bill to enjoin the payment of the legacies. 

Penchant fob Papek-knives 
M. Charles Asselineau, a well-known Frenchman, died in 1874. 
His estate appears to have consisted largely of books and paper- 
knives. These he disposed of by will in a bequest to a relative. 
He had as many paper-knives as Clapisson had whistles or Buffon 
butterflies, and they were all more or less remarkable by reason 
of the celebrity of the donors, or former owners, and the unique 



164 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

inscriptions they bore. Those who are interested may find amuse- 
ment, if not recreation, in an attempt to ascertain the point and 
meaning of some of the phrases. 

On one given him by Victor Hugo we read: "Madame, il fait 
grand vent et j'ai tu6 six loups." 

On that of Ponsard : "Quand la borne est franchie, il n'y a plus 
de limites." 

On that of Emile Augier : "Ce qui tombe au fosse, Madame, est 
au soldat." And so on. 

In this collection are paper-knives that had belonged to Beranger, 
Bauville, Autran, Camille Doueet, and many other French writers 
•of fame, each carefully enclosed in a case of its own and labelled. 

An Odd Lot 

There is a well-authenticated case of a wealthy man leaving his 
riches to deserving old maids, but he let his own daughters pine 
in single blessedness for want of portions. There was also an indi- 
vidual who desired to set up a lifeboat, compeUing his boys to 
"paddle their own canoe," and there is yet another testator who, 
when death approached, bestowed his estate for the planting of a 
botanical garden, leaving his daughters to fade as wallflowers, and 
his sons to go to seed in penury ; and these testamentary schemes 
were upheld, notwithstanding the adage that "Charity begins at 
home." 

A Butcher made Happy 

An old Parisian lady residing in the Rue Fontaine St. Georges, 
left by will the whole of her fortune to her butcher. Its amount 
was invested in rentes, and produced $7500 a year. 

The butcher was in no way related to her, did not even know her 
by sight, neither had she ever seen him. As the testatrix had no 
heirs either direct or collateral, and no relations, the will was not 
disputed, and the butcher ghded quite comfortably into his new 
position. 

He used "Plain English" 

The last will and testament of Mr. Daniel Martinett, of Cal- 
cutta, in the East Indies. 

"In the name of God, I, Daniel Martinett, of the town of Cal- 
cutta, being in perfect mind and memory, though weak of body, 
make this my last Will and Testament in manner and form follow- 
ing. ... To avoid Latin phrases, as it is a tongue I am not well 
versed in, 'I shall speak in plain English.' 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 165 

"First. In the most submissive mamier I recommend my soul 
to Almighty God, &c. 

"Secondly. Now as to worldly concerns, in the following 
manner : — As to this fulsome carcase having already seen enough 
of worldly pomp, I desire nothing relative to it to be done, only its 
being stowed away in my old green chest, to avoid expense; for 
as I lived profusely, I die frugaUy. 

"Thirdly. The undertaker's fees come to nothing, as I won 
them from him at a game of bilUards, in the presence of Mr. Thomas 
Morrice and William Perkes, at the said WiUiam Perkes' house, 
in February last. I furthermore request, not only as it is custom- 
ary, but as I sincerely believe the prayers of the good availeth, and 
are truly consistent with decency, that the Rev. Mr. Henry Butler 
read the prayers which are customary at burials, and also preach a 
sermon on Sunday next after my decease, taking his text from 
Solomon, "All is vanity." In consideration of which, over and 
above his fees, I bestow upon him all my hypocrisy, which he wants 
as a modern good man; but as my finances are low, and cannot 
conveniently discharge his fees, I hope he will please accept the 
will for the deed. 

"Fourthly. To Henry Vansittart, Esq., Governor of Bengal, as 
an opulent man, I leave the discharge of all such sums of money 
(the whole not exceeding 300 rupees) that I shall stand indebted 
to indigent persons in the town of Calcutta. 

"Fifthly. To Mr. George Grey, Secretary to the Presidency, I 
bequeath all my sincerity. 

"Sixthly. To Mr. Simon Drose, Writer to the Secretary's 
oflSce, all my modesty. 

"Seventhly. To Mr. Henry Higgenson, also of the Secretary's 
oflBce, all the thoughts I hope I shall die possessed of. 

"Eighthly. To Mr. Thomas Forbes, all the worldly assurance 
which I had when I had taken a cheerful glass, though in fact a 
doleful cup. 

"Ninthly. My wearing apparel, furniture, books, and every- 
thing else I die possessed of, I bequeath to them who stand most 
in need of them, leaving it to the discretion of my executor, Mr. 
Edward Gulston, excepting the things after mentioned: — Unto 
Capt. Edward Menzies, late commander of the ship Hibemia, I 
give my sea quadrant, invented by Hadley, and made by Howell, 
in the Strand; likewise my two-feet Gunter's scale. These I 
give him because I believe he knows the use of them better than 
any commander out of this port. 



166 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

" My silver watch and buckles I give to Mr. Edward Gulston, in 
lieu of his sincere friendship to me during our acquaintance ; and 
these I hope he will not part with, unless his necessities require it, 
which I sincerely hope will never be the case. 

" Also to Mr. Thomas Forbes I give my gold ring with a blue 
stone set therein, which he may exchange for a mourning one if he 
pleases. 

"I give my Bible and Prayer-book to the Rev. Mr. Henry 
Butler. 

" My sword, with a cut-and-thrust blade, I give to Capt. 
Ransulie Knox, as I verily believe he not only knows how, but has 
courage to use it, and I hope only in a good cause. 

" As I have Uved the make-game of a modem gentleman, being 
a butt for envy and a mark for mahce, by acting a Kttle out of the 
common road, though, thank God, never in a base way, I hope I 
may die in sincere love and charity to all men, forgiving all my 
persecutors, as I hope for forgiveness from my Creator. 

"As it Ues not in my power to bequeath anything to my relations 
at home, I shall say nothing concerning them, as they have not for 
these six years past concerned themselves about me; excepting 
that I heartily wish them all well, and that my brothers and sisters 
may make a more prosperous voyage through this life than I have 
done. 

" (Signed) Daniel Maktinett." 

This original and singular will was deposited in the Registry 
Office at Calcutta, Bengal, after the death of the testator, which 
took place in 1825 : the governor of Bengal generously accepted 
the equivocal legacy of debts and paid them. Mr. Martinett was 
an officer of the well-known East India Company. 

Had a Clamohotjs Tongtje 

Mr. Lewis Evan Morgan, an old Welsh gentleman, died at 
Gwyllgyth, in Glamorganshire, in the ninety-eighth year of his 
age. His will is neatly comprised in few words very much to the 
purpose : "I give to my old faithful servant, Ester Jones, the whole 
that I am possessed of either in personal property, land, or other- 
wise. She is a tolerable good woman, but would be much better 
if she had not so clamorous a tongue. She has, however, one 
great virtue, which is a veil to all her foibles — strict honesty." 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 167 

Hated Lawyers 

General Hawley, who drew up his own will "because of the hatred 
and suspicion with which I regard all lawyers," left "£100 to 
my servant EUzabeth Buskett because she has proved herself a 
useful and agreeable handmaid." The rest of his belongings he 
bequeathed to his adopted son, but provided that, if he should be 
foohsh enough to marry the said Elizabeth, neither was to inherit 
a farthing. 

He desired his executors to consign his "carcase" to any place 
they pleased, and if the parish priest should claim a burial fee, they 
were to "let the puppy have it." 

A Pedlee and his Dog 

In the window at the west end of the nave at St. Mary's, Lam- 
beth, in London, may be seen a singular group representing a 
pedler with a pack on his back followed by a dog. Its age is not 
known, but it was there at the end of the sixteenth century. It is 
connected with a piece of land called Pedler's Acre, anciently 
known as Church Hopys, which is entered in the parish register 
as bequeathed by a person unknown. A tradition preserved in the 
locality states that this isthmus was given to the parish to hold as 
long as the representation of himself and his dog was preserved in 
the church window. 

His Bkothers, Washington and Bonaparte 

A resident of an Eastern State, who died recently, reflects in his 
will that he was shunned by his relatives, " who cannot, now that 
I am dying, do too much for my comfort." But the testator, one 
Dr. Wagner, takes on these relations a ghastly revenge. To his 
brother, Napoleon Bonaparte, he bequeathed his left arm and hand ; 
to another brother, George Washington, his right arm and hand ; 
and to others his legs, nose, ears, etc. Further, the testator leaves a 
thousand dollars for the dismembering of his body. 

Will written on a Door 

An eccentric testator, having been told that so long as the 
proper formalities required by the law of wills were complied with 
it was immaterial whether the said will were written on paper, 
parchment, canvas, or wood, elected to write his on his door. 



168 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

The executors had therefore no choice but to have the door un- 
screwed from its hinges and carried into court for probate before 
it could be administered. The author has not been able to locate 
the court in which this rather weighty will was probated, but its 
existence is well authenticated. 

On a Cabd tohn from a Freight Car 

A strange document was recently filed as a will in Pittsburgh, 
Pennsylvania. Robert J. McElroy, after being fatally injured 
by a freight train, scribbled on a card torn from a freight car: 
"Mary, all that is mine is thine." The will left an estate of 
$5200 to his wife. After writing the will, McElroy signed the 
letter "R," but was unable to finish, and other trainmen completed 
the signature. McElroy died on June 12, 1910. 

His Will on Wrapping-papek 

Joseph Dwyer of Weymouth, Massachusetts, died in October, 
1910. His will was probated in the Norfolk County Court at 
Dedham. This will was unusual in that it was written on a piece 
of grocer's brown wrapping-paper. Under it he gave to his wife an 
estate valued at $50,000. The will was held to be valid. 

Will on a Collar Box 

Nicholas Zinuner was a passenger on the steamer. Kaiser WiU 
helm der Grosse, on a voyage from a European port to the United 
States, in October, 1910. 

In mid-ocean, he mysteriously disappeared and undoubtedly 
jumped overboard. He was last seen on October 1, 1910, and 
his non-appearance at meals the following day led to a search of 
his cabin. Under a steamer rug was found a collar box, on the lid 
of which was written his last will and testament. A search of his 
papers disclosed that he was sixty years of age and an American. 

During the voyage, he had spoken to many of his fellow-passen- 
gers, and had made friends with some of the stewards. He had 
in no wise acted strangely. 

The will written on the lid of the collar box bequeathed seven 
hundred dollars in cash and ten thousand dollars in securities to 
his wife. This amount of cash, and the securities, were found in 
the box. When the steamer reached her dock, the government 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 169 

officials boarded the vessel, received the box and forwarded it to 
Mrs. Zimmer. 

Thbbe-word Will Invalid 

Recently, the Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia rejected 
the will of the late George T. Smith, of Richmond, which was 
composed of three words, "Eveiy thing is Lou's," in the suit of 
Samuel H. Smith, appellant, against Loula G. Smith. 

These three words were written on a page of a book issued 
by the Southern Railroad Company to its employees for keeping 
records on trains. 

The court held that such an instrument was not entitled to 
probate. 

Man must deess in Female Attihe 

Money is so generally welcome that it is hardly conceivable that 
a legacy in cash would ever be refused. Occasionally, however, 
as a result of the absurdity or harshness of the conditions attached 
to legacies, substantial bequests of this kind have been declined. 
An Englishman refused a legacy of two hundred pounds because 
it was stipulated that before receiving it he must walk down the 
most important street of a fashionable summer resort (Brighton) 
"dressed in female attire." 

A Lion Sermon 

Sir John Gayer, a citizen of London, and lord mayor upwards 
of 200 years ago, left by will some money to provide for a sermon, 
which is preached at the Church of St. Katharine Cree, Leadenhall 
Street, every October, in commemoration of his being saved from 
a lion on the coast of Africa, in answer to prayer. 

What's in a Name 

A gentleman named Furstone of Alton Hampshire, England, 
about to make his will, and having no family, left seven thousand 
pounds to any man legitimately bearing the name of Furstone, who 
should discover and marry a female Furstone. If the marriage 
should result in children, the sum was to descend to the male off- 
spring, if any, or to any child or children of the opposite sex who 
should, after marriage, retain the name. 



170 ANCIENT, CURIOUS. AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Would not speak to the Legatee 

In 1772, John Edmunds, Esq., of Monmouth, England, be- 
queathed a fortune of upwards of twenty thousand pounds to one 
Mills, a day laborer, residing near Monmouth. Mr. Edmunds, 
who had so handsomely provided for this man, would not speak 
to or see him while he lived. 

Only oub Saviouk could demand It 

Recently a cynical old man in a Western town died, who in his 
will devised all his property to that man in the community who 
could prove that he was a Christian. Then a definition of a Chris- 
tian was given, which would exclude every one who had lived 
on earth, except the Saviour himself : the will was promptly set 
aside and the property given to the legal heirs. 

To throw Dice for Bibles 

A dissenting minister bequeathed a sum of money to his chapel 
at St. Ives, to provide "six Bibles every year, for which six men 
and six women are to throw dice on Whit Tuesday after the morn- 
ing service, the minister kneeling the while at the south end of 
the communion table, and praying God to direct the luck to His 
glory." 

To a Hero or his Mistresses 

A somewhat puzzling task devolved upon a real or imaginary 
body of men in Pennsylvania. A Mr. Smith Willie, in 1880, 
appointed as executors of his extraordinary will, a jury of honor 
consisting of all the householders in his native town, who could 
prove that they came honestly by their fortunes, each to receive 
for his trouble the sum of two hundred dollars. He computed 
that there could not be above twenty, and doubted whether that 
number would be reached. 

The will itself is thus indited: 

"Seeing that I have no direct descendants, and that I am wholly 
unacquainted with those I may possess collaterally, I bequeath 
my fortune to any one among them who, in the course of a twelve- 
month from the date of my death, may distinguish himself by an 
act of heroism worthy of ancient times. 

"In case none of my collateral descendants should be justified 
in making this claim, I then leave all I possess to be divided 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 171 

between all the women who can prove that they have been my 
mistresses, be it for ever so brief a period." 



Imposed on the Nuns 

A sick traveller once presented himself at the hospital of Auxerre, 
in France, where he was received and treated with the care and 
attention bestowed on all the sick who seek an asylum there. He 
expressed his gratitude for the kindness shown him, and his 
intention of testifying it in a more substantial manner, begging 
the nuns to let him see a notary. 

This functionary having obeyed his summons, he informed him 
that, as an old soldier, he was in the enjoyment of a retiring-pen- 
sion, and, having earned a medal, of a further allowance ; that, in 
addition to this income, he owned a mortgage worth four thousand 
five hundred francs, of which the title, as well as his other papers, 
was deposited with the notary of the commune of the Departement 
du Seine et Marne, where he had a settlement. Upon this he 
dictated to him a will, by which he bequeathed everything to the 
hospital, upon the sole condition that they should give him a 
decent and honorable burial. 

At this time he appeared to be recovering, but suddenly his 
state became worse, and on the following day he died. 

To fulfil the promise exacted from them, the administrators 
of the hospital, instead of supplying the simple funeral ordinarily 
accorded to the paupers who died there, responded hberally to the 
behest of their generous benefactor, and accompanied his inter- 
ment with every mark of respect, after which they went to the 
ofl5ce indicated to claim the inheritance bestowed on them. But 
< here a new feature appeared in the case. The mayor and the 
notary of the parish indicated, expressed themselves entirely 
ignorant whether of the papers in question or of the singular 
testator, and on further inquiry they discovered him to be no 
more than a wretched cowherd, bearing in his neighborhood a very 
suspicious character. What his motive could have been in prac- 
tising this deception in his dying moments it is difficult to guess, 
and his conduct remains an instance of one of those crookednesses 
of the human mind we often meet with, but do not understand. 



172 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Leaves Estate to Jestjs 

One of the most unique wills ever recorded, was filed recently 
in Worcester, Massachusetts. The testator, Charles Hastings, 
leaves several garden lots and buildings, valued at fifty thousand 
dollars, to the Lord Jesus, with the explanation that He is the right- 
ful owner of all lands, according to the Bible, the first book of Laws. 

The instrument is an odd mixture of a deed and a will, and was 
drawn twenty-five years ago. According to the probate records, 
the instrument was given in consideration of the love and good- 
will of the Lord and one cent found in one of the buildings conveyed. 

There was a reservation in the instrument, giving the grantor 
the right to use the lands for life, and to improve and repair the 
houses and to pay taxes and insurance. 

It may be safely surmised that the title to this property will 
vest in the heirs of the testator. 

Mr. Hastings was a resident of Ashburnham and a well-known 
citizen. 

A Spirit Will 

A spirit will was rejected in Washington, D.C., on August 12th, 
1910, by Justice Barnard of the Supreme Court of the District of 
Columbia. 

Mrs. Elida J. G. Crowell, widow of William H. Crowell, a clerk 
in the Treasury Department, appUed to the court for the appoint- 
ment of the deceased's brother as administrator of his estate and 
offered in evidence what purported to be a translation of an illeg- 
ible message, which Crowell scribbled while on his deathbed, favor- 
ing his brother's appointment. 

The court was unable to decipher the scrawl, but Mrs. Crowell 
said a "translation" had been made for her by a "slate-writing 
medium." The "translation" in part read: 

"Dear Elida, — 

" This is what I tried to write on a slip of paper : 'I want my 
brother, W. H. H. Crowell, Washington, U. S. A., if I should pass 
away with my sickness. I have perfect trust in him. I believe he 
will deal honestly with my children. I have set aside $5000 for 
the exclusive use of my wife. Give little Elizabeth and brother 
both $100 to put in the Savings Bank.' Ruby met me. I have 
seen many folk here. This is a beautiful world. Is better than 
the Sixth Auditor's ofiSce. They can't put me out here. 
"Date, June 7, 1910." " W. H. Crowell. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 173 

Mystery of a Little Tbtjnk 

On September 1st, 1910, Adolph Steinberg, an old German 
cobbler, died in Brooklyn, New York, at 36 Snyder Avenue. 
For a quarter of a century he had half-soled and mended shoes for 
those who lived in that section of the city. Mayor Gaynor was 
one of his customers, and many other prominent men used to go to 
his little shop to have their shoes repaired. 

There always lay close to Steinberg's feet, as he stitched away, 
a Httle metal trunk that was never out of his sight a moment during 
the day. It was never open, and no one ever caught a glimpse of 
its contents. At night it was placed under Steinberg's bed, and in 
the morning he would pull it out and drag it over to his bench. 

Steinberg's solicitude for the trunk finally caused comment 
among his customers, and the report got out that the old cobbler 
kept his money and valuables there, and that a snug fortune was 
locked up in the little box. It was known that Steinberg was well 
to do, and for many years he used to lend out money to people who 
were temporarily out of funds. In such cases, he would get them 
to leave a watch or some other article of value as security. When 
they called to repay, Steinberg would return their valuables, charg- 
ing them no interest for the money loaned. 

In the course of many years, Steinberg accumulated quite a col- 
lection of watches and trinkets, because many of those to whom he 
lent money never came back to claim their valuables. So the 
collection grew and grew. 

By his will Steinberg directed that the trunk be not opened until 
thirty days after his death. His wife and children respected his 
wish, and much to their satisfaction found it contained securities 
and other property of considerable value, an accumulation of many 
years. 

DoMiY Varden Gahtebs and other Matters 

The following are extracts from some recent English wUls: 
Thomas Blyth, after directing that no person was to wear mourning 
for him out of his money, goes on to say : "But I cannot forget the 
kindness of the ladies who have promised to wear Dolly Varden 
garters of black and white as a mark of respect for my memory." 
William Hampton, after leaving to his son Lawrie's "Interest 
Tables," says he does so, "not from its intrinsic value, but from the 
hope that so small an incident may be of use to him in future years. 
And I particularly recommend to him the study of the compound 



174 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

interest tables, as showing that from comparatively small invest- 
ments, by patience, large sums may be realized." James Brown 
evidently believed in every man voting according to his own 
political convictions, for after leaving to a nephew two cottages, 
"for which he is to get his vote on," adds, "and to vote the way 
which he likes best." William Farren's statement as to the char- 
acter of Cambridge undergraduates is, we hope and believe, un- 
founded : he hopes by his disposition of his property, "to save his 
family from keeping or living in an undergraduate lodging-house, 
as undergraduates are more like wolves and dogs than human, 
beings." 

Ostentation 

Matthew Wall of Braughing, Hertfordshire, England, by will, in 
1595, charged all his lands and tenements in the parish of Braugh- 
ing with the yearly payment of twenty shillings, to be distributed 
by the minister and churchwardens on St. Matthew's Day, in the- 
following manner : 

To the sexton, to make up his grave yearly, and to ring the bell^ 
Is. lOd. To twenty boys, between the age of six and sixteen,, 
twenty groats. To ten aged and impotent people of the parish, 
ten threepences. To sweep the path from his house to the church- 
gate every year. Is. To the crier of Stortford, to make proclama- 
tion yearly, on Ascension and Michaelmas Day, that he left his 
estate to a Matthew, or William Wall, as long as the world should 
endure, 8d. To the parish clerk at Hallingbury for the same,. 
8d., and to the minister and churchwardens, to see his will per- 
formed, 5s. 

PowDEK Plot and Spanish Akmada 

Robert Wilcox, of Alcester, Warwickshire, England, by will, dated 
24th of December, 1627, gave a house and grounds to the town of 
Alcester, for the maintenance of three sermons in the year. Adz. : 

"One upon the 5th of November, in remembrance of our happy 
deliverance, with our king, nobles and states, from the pestilent 
design of the Papists in the Powder Plot ; one on the 17th of 
November, in remembrance of that good Queen Elizabeth, her 
entrance unto the Crown; and the third upon the last day of 
July, in remembrance of the Lord's gracious deliverance from the 
Spanish Armada, in '88." 

And whereas the rent was 20s. by the year then, and the good- 
wife, Lilly, having her life in it, after her decease no doubt the house 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 175 

and close would be worth 30s. by the year ; then his will was that 
the said overplus should be given to the poor every year, as the 
rent should come in, forever. 

More Generous than Polite 

The will of Edward Wortley Montagu, son of Mr. Montagu, 
Ambassador to Constantinople in 1716, by Lady Mary Wortley 
Montagu, his wife, the supposed "Sappho" of Pope, is more than 
singular. After some bequest "to my noble and worthy relation, 

the Earl of ," he adds, "I do not give his lordship any further 

part of my property because the best part of that he has contrived 

to take already. Item, to Sir Francis I give one word of 

mine, because he has never had the good fortune to keep his own. 

Item, to Lord M I give nothing, because I know he'll bestow 

it on the poor. Item, to the author, for putting me in his 

travels, I give five shillings for his wit, undeterred by the charge of 
extravagance, since friends who have read his book consider five 
shillings too much. Item, to Sir Robert W I leave my polit- 
ical opinions, never doubting he can well turn them into cash, 
who has always found such an excellent market in which to change 
his own. Item, my cast-off habit of swearing oaths I give to Sir 

Leopold D , in consideration that no oaths have ever been able 

to find him yet." 

From some quarrel with his family he advertised for some widow 
or single lady of good manners" likely to bring him an heir in 

months. This treasure to his arms his valet brought by his 

desire to meet him at Venice, from England; but as the ship of 
Wortley Montagu was entering the Venetian lagunes, to wed the 
chaste bride on the following day, the eager and expectant bride- 
groom swallowed too hastily a chicken bone, which, sticking in his 
throat, suffocated him in a few minutes. 

To encourage Matrimony and Horse-racing 

By a deed, dated 12th of August, 1801, executed in pursuance 
of a decree in Chancery, relative to the will of John Perram of New 
Market, England, dated 30th of May, 1772, the trustees of a sum 
of £410 6s. 2d. Three Per Cent Consols and £21 Bank Long Annui- 
ties, being the original sum given by the will, together with such 
accumulations thereon which had accrued during the proceedings 
in Chancery, were declared; to hold them upon trust, six weeks 



176 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

at least before Easter, to cause notice to be given, as therein 
directed, that a marriage portion of £21 would be given to a parish- 
ioner of the said parish, who should, on Thursday in the Easter 
week, be married at the church to a woman belonging to it; 
neither party to be under twenty, nor to exceed twenty-five years 
of age, nor be worth £20 ; the trustees to attend in the vestry to 
receive claims, and pay the bequest to such couples as should be 
qualified to receive it. In case of two claims, the determination 
to be by ballot who should receive it. In case of no claimants, 
then the money, for that year only, to be paid by the trustees to 
the winner of the next town horse-race; the race course at New 
Market is four miles. long and is regarded the finest in the world. 

Bequests of the HtrMAN Brain 

Both in France and the United States there exist medical 
societies which make a special study of the human brain. In 
the United States a regular blank form of testamentary bequest 
has been formulated, and the brains of a number of prominent 
persons, particularly those of doctors, have passed under its pro- 
visions ; a form used is here given : 

"I, , of , recognizing the need of studying the 

brains of educated and orderly persons rather than those of the 
ignorant, criminal or insane, in order to determine their weight, 
form, and fissural patterns, the correlations with bodily and 
mental powers of various kinds and degrees, and the influences 
of sex, age and inheritance, hereby declare my wish, that at my 
death, my brain shall be entrusted to the Cornell Brain Associa- 
tion, or to the Curator of the Collection of human brains, in the 
Museum of Cornell University, for scientific uses, and for preser- 
vation, as a whole or in part, as may be thought best. If my near 
relatives, by blood or marriage, object seriously to the fulfilment of 
this bequest, it shall be void. I earnestly hope that they may 
interpose neither objection nor obstacle. 

Date " . 

Witnesses : 



Medical works state that college professors are among the 
individuals best adapted to subserve the purposes indicated, by 
reason of their sharply defined capacities and attainments ; lawyers, 
doctors and preachers seem to come next in favor. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 177 

It will be recalled that the late Florence Nightingale by will left 
her body for dissection and the cause of medical science. 

Must settle Disputes 

Mrs. Susan M. Corning died recently at Rockaway Beach, New 
York, leaving an estate valued at several thousand dollars. By 
an unusual clause in her will she appointed an arbitration com- 
mittee to pass upon any dispute which might arise in the distribu- 
tion of her estate. The clause reads : 

"It is my express will and wish and I hereby ordet and direct 
that if any differences shall arise concerning any gift, bequest or 
other thing in this will, no suit shall be brought over the same, but 
the said difference shall be referred wholly to George Bennett, 
Louis KJreusher and Albert Meisel, all of Rockaway Beach, and 
what they order and direct shall be binding and conclusive to all 
persons concerned." 

There seems some reason to question the legality of such a pro- 
vision. 

Long on Trousers 

A New Yorker dying in 1880 supposed to be sane, left this will : 

"I bequeath all my fortune to my nephews and nieces, seven in 
number. 

"They are to share it equally, and on no account to go to law 
about it, on pain of forfeiting their respective shares. 

"I own seventy-one pairs of trousers, and I strictly enjoin my 
executors to hold a public sale at which these shall be sold to the 
highest bidder, and the proceeds distributed to the poor of the 
city. 

"I desire that these garments shall in no way be examined or 
meddled with, but be disposed of as they are found at the time 
of my death ; and no one piu-chaser is to buy more than one pair." 

As the testator had always been more or less eccentric in his 
ways, no one was much surprised at these singular clauses, which 
were religiously observed. The sale was held, and the seventy-one 
pairs of trousers were sold to seventy-one different purchasers. 
One of thesCj in examining the pockets, discovered in the fob a 
packet of some sort, closely sewn up. He lost no time in cutting 
the thread, and was not a little surprised to find a bundle of bank- 
notes representing a thousand dollars. The news soon spread, 
and each of the others found himself possessed of a similar amount. 



178 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

As may be supposed, all were well satisfied except the heirs, 
who could not find redress in law, this recourse being prohibited. 

Complication oveh Hobses 

In a celebrated case, frequently quoted, the testator bequeathed 
to the plaintiff, "all my black and white horses." Now the 
testator had six black horses, six white horses and six pied horses, 
and the question was whether the pied horses passed under the 
terms of the bequest. After elaborate argument, judgment was; 
given for the plaintiff, and then it was moved in arrest of judg- 
ment that the pied horses were mares. 

Must maery "Anton" ok "Antonie" 

An eccentric Frenchman left his estate to his six nephews and 
six nieces on the condition that "every one of my nephews marries 
a woman named Antonie and that every one of my nieces marries 
a man named Anton." They were further required to give the 
Christian name Antonie or Anton to every first-born child accord- 
ing to the sex. The marriage of each nephew was to be celebrated, 
on one of the St. Anthony's Days, either January 17th, May 10th, 
or June 13th, and if, in any instance, this last provision was not 
complied with before July, 1896, one-half of the legacy was in that 
case to be forfeited. 

Must sing Anthems 

Elizabeth Townsend of Westbury, Wilts, England, widow, by 
her will, dated 11th of June, 1820, gave unto the churchwardens 
and overseers of the parish of Westbury as much money as should 
be sufficient, when invested in the stocks, to yield the yearly sum 
of £3 clear of all deductions, upon trust to pay the dividends thereof 
unto the vicar, organist, parish clerk, and choir of the parish church 
of Westbury, for the time being, upon special condition that the 
said choir should forever thereafter, in the morning and afternoon 
service, at the parish church, on the Sunday preceding the 24th of 
June in each year, sing the anthem composed by her late husband's 
grandfather, Roger Townsend, from the 150th Psalm, and also the 
112th Psalm, for which the vicar was to have 4s., the organist 
10s., the clerk 5s., and 4s. apiece to the choir singers, viz., two 
counter, two tenor, three treble, and three bass singers, and in 
default of their singing, then to divide such £3 amongst the poor 
at Christmas. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 179 

The same person made a similar bequest to the choir of the 
parish church of Warminster, Wilts. 

Will of Dh. DtoojOP 

The humorous will of Dr. Dunlop of Upper Canada is worth 
recording, though there is a spice of malice in every bequest it 
contains. 

To his five sisters he left the following bequests: 

"To my eldest sister Joan, my five-acre field, to console her for 
being married to a man she is obliged to henpeck. 

"To my second sister Sally, the cottage that stands beyond the 
said field with its garden, because as no one is likely to marry her 
it will be large enough to lodge her. 

"To my third sister Kate, the family Bible, recommending her 
to learn as much of its spirit as she already knows of its letter, 
that she may become a better Christian. 

"To my fourth sister Mary, my grandmother's silver snuff-box, 
that she may not be ashamed to take snuff before company. 

"To my fifth sister, Lydia, my silver drinking-cup, for reasons 
known to herself. 

"To my brother Ben, my books, that he may learn to read 
with them. 

" To my brother James, my big silver watch, that he may know 
the hour at which men ought to rise from their beds. 

"To my brother-in-law Jack, a punch-bowl, because he will do 
credit to it. 

"To my brother-in-law Christopher, my best pipe, out of grati- 
tude that he married my sister Maggie whom no man of taste 
would have taken. 

"To my friend John Caddell, a silver teapot, that, being af- 
flicted with a slatternly wife, he may therefrom drink tea to his 
comfort." 

While "old John's" eldest son was made legatee of a silver 
tankard, which the testator objected to leave to old John himself, 
lest he should commit the sacrilege of melting it down to make 
'temperance medals. 

Vanity ioixows us to the Gbave 

John Troutbeck of Dacre, Cmnberland, England, by will, 
dated 27th of October, 1787, gave to the poor of Dacre, the place of 



180 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

his nativity, £200, the interest thereof to be distributed every 
Easter Sunday on the family tombstone in Dacre churchyard, 
provided the day should be fine, by the hands and at the discretion 
of a Troutbeck of Blencowe, if there should be any living, those 
next in descent having prior right of distribution; and if none 
should be hving that would distribute the same, then by a Trout- 
beck, as long as one could be found that would take the trouble of 
it ; otherwise by the minister and churchwardens of the parish for 
the time being; that not less than five shillings should be given 
to any individual, and that none should be considered entitled to 
it that received alms, or any support from the parish. 

Temperance and Early Rising enjoined 

In the will of the late Mr. J. Sargeant, of Leicester, England, 
who died some forty years ago, is the following clause : "As my 
nephews are fond of indulging themselves in bed in the morning, 
and as I wish them to prove to the satisfaction of my executors 
that they have got out of bed in the morning, and either employed 
themselves in business or taken exercise in the open air, from five 
to eight o'clock every morning from the fifth of April to the 10th 
of October, being three hours every day, and from seven to nine 
o'clock in the morning from the 10th of October to the 5th of April, 
being two hours every morning ; this is to be done for some years, 
during the first seven years to the satisfaction of my executors, 
who may excuse them in case of illness, but the task must be made 
up when they are well, and if they will not do this, they shall not 
receive any share of my property. Temperance makes the facul- 
ties clear, and exercise makes them vigorous. It is temperance and 
exercise that can alone ensure the fittest state for mental or bodily 
exertion." 

PiCTUKE OF A Viper as a Bequest 

The following is an extract from the will of John Hylett Stow, 
proved in 1781 : 

"I hereby direct my executors to lay out five guineas in the 
purchase of a picture of the viper biting the benevolent hand of 
the person who saved him from perishing in the snow, if the same 
can be bought for the money ; and that they do, in memory of me, 

present it to , Esq., a king's counsel, whereby he may have 

frequent opportunities of contemplating it, and, by a comparison 
between that and his own virtue, be able to form a certain judg- 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 181 

ment which is best and most profitable, a grateful remembrance 
of past friendship and almost parental regard, or ingratitude and 
insolence. This I direct to be presented to him in lieu of a legacy 
of three thousand pounds I had by a former will, now revoked 
and burned, left him." 

This will provoked a suit for libel, a proceeding not altogether 
unknown, for defamation contained in a testamentary document, 
though such proceedings are rare. Mr. John Marshall Gest of 
Philadelphia refers to this clause in his excellent address on 
"Practical Suggestions for Writing Wills." It is also to be found 
in the "Curiosities of the Search Room," an English work of the 
highest merit. 

No Cruei/tt to Animals 

Grates v. Eraser. This was a suit for the administration of the 
estate of the late Dr. Eraser, of Hampstead, England, who left a 
large amount of property to be distributed among various charities. 
The will, probated in 1878, contained several very singular clauses, 
one of which was to this effect : That he had prcAdously left ten 
thousand pounds to the Senatus Academicus of the University of 
Edinburgh, for the purpose of founding certain bursaries connected 
with the medical profession, but having learnt that the horrible 
and atrocious practice prevailed there of performing unspeakably 
cruel operations and experiments on living animals, he now by his 
will cancelled the bequest, and desired to benefit the Scottish 
Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to a similar extent, 
since he could not reconcile it with his feelings to encourage, how- 
ever remotely, the barbarous practice of vivisection. The testa- 
tor also directed that his funeral should be conducted with as Httle 
parade as possible, without cloaks, hatbands, or scarfs, and that 
no feathers, wands, or other absurdities should be used on the occa- 
sion, and that the ridiculous display of hired mourners, mutes, 
or attendants, be dispensed with. Most sensible people, he con- 
tinued, condemn the above useless customs, but nevertheless, 
from vanity or in blind obedience to antiquated usages, perpetuate 
and encourage them. He then directed his body to be buried in 
any cemetery, without reference to its being what was called 
"consecrated" or "unconsecrated" ground, or whether any service 
should be repeated at the grave or not, as these were matters 
about which he was utterly indifferent; they could avail him 
nothing, but might, if the weather were cold, cause the health of 
some friend to suffer. 



182 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Whiskey to exterminate the Ihish 

An English gentleman, who had from his earliest years been 
educated with the most violent prejudices against the Irish, came, 
when advanced in life, to inherit a considerable property in the 
county of Tipperary, but under the express condition that he should 
reside on the land. To this decree he very reluctantly conformed, 
but his feelings towards the natives only grew more bitter in conse- 
quence. 

At his death some years after, on the 17th of March, 1791, his 
■executors were extremely surprised on opening his will to find the 
following dispositions : 

"I give and bequeath the annual sum of ten pounds, to be paid 
in perpetuity out of my estate, to the following purpose. It is my 
will and pleasure that this sum shall be spent in the purchase of a 
•certain quantity of the liquor vulgarly called whisky, and it shall 
be publicly given out that a certain number of persons, Irish only, 
not to exceed twenty, who may choose to assemble in the cemetery 
in which I shall be interred, on the anniversary of my death, shall 
have the same distributed to them. Further, it is my desire that 
each shall receive it by half-a-pint at a time till the whole is con- 
sumed, each being likewise provided with a Stout oaken stick and a 
knife, and that they shall drink it all on the spot. Knowing what 
I know of the Irish character, my conviction is, that with these 
materials given, they will not fail td destroy each other, and when 
in the course of time the race comes to be exterminated, this neigh- 
bourhood at least may, perhaps, be colonized by civilized and 
respectable Englishmen." 

Must wait One Hundred Years 

A very curious will was that of a PoKsh landlord, M. Zalesky, 
who died in 1889, leaving property valued at one hundred thou- 
sand roubles. His will was enclosed in an envelope bearing the 
words: "To be opened after my death." Inside there was an- 
'Other envelope, "To be opened six weeks after my death." When 
ithis time had passed, the second envelope was opened, and a third 
uncovered, "To be opened one year after my death." At the end 
of the year, a fourth envelope was discovered, to be opened two 
y^ears after the testator's death; and so the game went on until 
1894, when the actual will was discovered and read. The contents 
«f this will were quite as eccentric as the directions attached to its 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 183 

opening. The testator bequeathed half his fortune to such of his 
heirs as had the largest number of children. The rest of the 
property was to be placed in bank, and a hundred years after his 
death to be divided, with the accumulated interest, among the 
will-maker's descendants. 

Will of an Irish Miseh 

An Irishman named Dennis Tolam, who died at Cork possessed 
of considerable wealth, in the year 1769, left a singular wiU, con- 
taining the following testamentary dispositions: "I leave to my 
sister-in-law four old stockings, which will be found under my 
mattress, to the right. Item: To my nephew, Michael Tarles, 
two odd socks and a green nightcap. Item : To Lieutenant John 
Stein, a blue stocking, with my red cloak. Item : To my cousin, 
Barbara Dolan, an old boot, with a red flannel pocket. Item: 
To Hannah, my housekeeper, my broken water-jug." After the 
death of the testator, the legatees having been convened by the 
notary to be present at the reading of the will, each, as he or she 
was named, shrugged their shoulders and otherwise expressed a 
contemptuous disappointment, while parties uninterested in the 
succession could not refrain from laughing at these ridiculous, 
not to say insulting, legacies. All were leaving the room, after 
signifying their intention of renouncing their bequests, when the 
last-named, Hannah, having -testified her indignation by kicking 
away the broken pitcher, a number of coins rolled out of it ; the 
other individuals, astonished at the unexpected incident, began to 
think better of their determination, and requested permission to 
examine the articles given to them. It is needless to say that, 
on proceeding to the search, the stockings, socks, pocket, etc., 
soon betrayed by their weight the value of their contents ; and the 
hoard of the testator, thus fairly distributed, left on the minds of 
the legatees a very diflFerent impression of his worth. 

Must not marbt a Domestic Servant 

A curious and peculiarly hard case came before a Vice-Chancellor 
in London in 1880. The facts are as follows : A Miss Turner de- 
vised a large amount of real estate to her father for life, and then to 
her brother on these conditions: "But if my brother shall marry 
during my life without my consent in writing, or if he shall already 
have married, or hereafter shall marry, a domestic servant," then 



184 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

such bequest to her brother was to be void. It appears the brother 
came into possession of the estate and died in 1898, leaving a widow 
and two children. Suit was instituted against the widow and chil- 
dren on the ground that the testatrix's brother had forfeited his 
title to the legacy by marrying a domestic servant. It was con- 
tended on behalf of the widow that she had been a housekeeper, 
and not a domestic servant. The Vice-Chancellor, however, was of 
the opinion that a housekeeper was a domestic servant, and thus 
the legacy was forfeited. 

To Sing in Opeba 

Stanislas Poltzmar?, a Hungarian, possessed of considerable 
wealth, and residing at Pesth, died about 1835, bequeathing the 
larger part of his fortune, consisting of three million florins, to a 
notary named Lotz, but stipulated that before claiming it he should 
engage himself at the Scala at Milan, to perform in the operas of 
"Otello" and "La Sonnambula." The testator, who was eighty 
years of age, deprecates being considered in his dotage, and takes 
the trouble to explain that, having some few years before met the 
said Lotz at an evening party, where he had sung fragments of the 
parts of Elvino and Otello, he had admired the beauty of his tenor 
voice, and predicted that it only depended on himself to become the 
favorite of the whole musical world. " If, therefore," he concludes, 
"I am right, he will thank me, and so will all dilettanti, for my acu- 
men; if, on the other hand, he should fail, he will have money 
enough to compensate for the hisses he may incur." 

Hak of the Prophet's Beabd 

"The Prophet's Beard Case," which created a sensation among 
the followers of the Prophet at Madras, was called on for final dis- 
posal before Mr. Justice Innes, Acting Chief Justice, in August, 
1879. The subject of dispute was a hair of the Prophet's beard, 
which is enclosed in a case and is called the "Aussaree Shareef," or 
sacred relic, and in connection with which the Government allows a 
monthly pension of Rs. 47-14-4, obtained from funds left by a late 
Nabob for the purpose of carrying out ceremonies in connection with 
the sacred relic. There were, when the case was first instituted, no 
less than six claimants, two by right of a will, the others claiming 
it in succession from generations. Two of the claimants and the 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 185 

plaintiff withdrew from the suit, leaving only four to establish their 
rights to the sacred heirloom.. His lordship, in a lengthy judgment, 
decided that the first, third, and fourth defendants were entitled to 
the sacred relic ; but as the first defendant was a woman she could 
not hold office in connection with it, and as No. 3 was the elder 
brother of No. 4, he directed that he should hold the "Aussaree 
Shareef," and perform all ceremonies in connection with it, making 
three equal shares of whatever remained from the allowance after 
their performance. 

Joke on his Friends 

Mr. Arbirlot, a Scotch gentleman, left extremely handsome lega- 
cies to a number of his friends. The lawyer who wrote down his 
wishes, looked up from time to time to ascertain whether his client 
could be in earnest ; at last he could not refrain from asking him 
whether he was sure his assets would cover all these bequests. At 
this the humorous testator burst out laughing, admitting that of 
course they wouldn't, only he didn't like to go out of the world with- 
out leaving the expression of his regard for these legatees, by show- 
ing what he would have done for them if he had had the means. 
No doubt the intention was a benevolent one; but we doubt 
whether the joke was one calculated to be received in a spirit of 
affectionate gratitude, especially by the executors, whose equanim- 
ity would have been put to a severe test had the puzzle not been 
explained before the testator's death. 

A Remarkable Annuity 

A county newspaper some years ago recorded the death of a 
Major Hook, and spoke of him as "a singular character." "He 
died," says the report, "on Monday sennight, at his house. Ham 
Street, Ham Common. He was an officer in the East India Com- 
pany's service, and reached the age of seventy-five. His house 
was remarkable for its dingy and dilapidated condition." 

His wife had become entitled to a life annuity, bequeathed to her 
in these ambiguous terms : "And the same shall be paid to her as 
long as she is above ground." When, therefore, the good lady died, 
her husband very naturally objected to forfeit this income by put- 
ting her below ground ; and ingeniously devised a mode of keeping 
her in a room which he allotted "to her sole and separate use," 
placing a glass-case over her remains. For thirty years he thus 



186 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

prolonged his enjoyment, if not of his wife's society, at least of her 
income. 

To HELP Young Newspaper Men 

William J. Haskett, a lawyer, who died in New York in 
1890, left a will containing this curiously worded clause: "I 
am informed that there is a society composed of young men con- 
nected with the public press ; and as in early life I was connected 
with the papers, I have a keen recollection of the toils and troubles 
that bubbled then and ever will bubble for the toilers of the world 
in their pottage caldron; and as I desire to thicken with a little 
savory herb their thin broth in the shape of a legacy, I do hereby 
bequeath to the New York Press Club of the City of New York, 
$1000, payable on the death of Mrs. Haskett." 

Angelic Virtue Required 

Not long ago, a wealthy gentleman on Long Island died, who 
provided that none of his heirs should inherit, unless they could 
show that they had led a life of angelic virtue. Among the con- 
ditions mentioned, were these: That they should not smoke or 
drink; that they should rise every morning and breakfast at a 
certain hour ; that they should be in the house every evening at a 
certain hour ; that they should be industrious and strictly moral ; 
that they should never enter a barroom, and should not get mar- 
ried before the age of twenty-five. It is stated that the heirs were 
practically disinherited, all but one having failed to live up to the 
conditions. 

Bare Arms Immodest 

A rector of a Yorkshire parish, who died in 1804, left a consider- 
able property to his only daughter under the following conditions : 

1st. That she should not marry unless with the consent of his 
two executors, and 

2d. That she should dress with greater propriety than there- 
tofore. 

This clause was worded thus : "Seeing that my daughter Anna has 
not availed herself of my advice touching the objectionable practice 
of going about with her arms bare up to the elbows, my will is that, 
should she continue after my death in this violation of the mod- 
esty of her sex, all the goods, chattels, moneys, land, and other 
property that I have devised to her for the maintenance of her 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 187 

future life shall pass to the oldest of the sons of my sister Caroline. 
Should anyone take exception to this my wish as being too severe, 
I answer that license in dress in a woman is a mark of a depraved 
mind." 

A Fanatical Baptist Minister 

The will (dated March 26th, 1874) of the Rev. William Hill, late 
of Lansdowne Villas, Springfield Road, Cotham, Bristol, Baptist 
minister, who died on November 11, 1879, was proved at the 
district registry, Bristol, by Emerson Geerish and Thomas Bow- 
beer, the executors, under three thousand pounds. After the death 
of his wife he gives to the Society for the Relief of Aged and Infirm 
Baptist Ministers, instituted in Bath, 1816, and to the Baptist 
Foreign Missionary Society, each one hundred pounds. The 
testator directs "the payment of all my just debts, funeral and 
testamentary expenses, as soon as conveniently may be after my 
departure to heaven ; but, as this is to be my final public document, 
I shall here record my detestation of all State establishments of 
religion, believing them to be anti-scriptural and soul-ruining. I 
have for years prayed the Eang of Zion to overthrow the politico- 
ecclesiastical establishment of the British Empire, and I leave the 
world with a full conviction that such prayer must ere long be 
answered. I thirst to see the Church brought down, the Church by 
man set up, for millions are by it led on to drink a bitter cup. I 
desire all posterity to know that William Hill was a conscientious 
Trinitarian Baptist Minister, and that he believed infant sprinkling 
to be from his Satanic Majesty, the keystone of Popery, therefore 
the parent of unnumbered terrible evils ; this delusion must also 
pass away at the Divinely-appointed time, and the immersion of 
believers, as plainly taught by the Great Teacher, the Holy Ghost, 
and the Apostles, shall one day universally triumph. Man says, 
some water in the face, and that before the child has grace, is what 
is meant in Jesus' word, by being buried in the Lord. The deadly 
drinking customs of professors and non-professors are likewise 
doomed. Heaven dash all error, sin, and the devil from the earth, 
and cause truth, holiness, and Christ everywhere to prevail. 
Amen." 

Theee Testamentary Gems 

The three testamentary gems following are to be found in one 
volume of the Pennsylvania State Reports: 



188 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

NUMBER ONE 

" February the 28, 1858. 
" the requeste of tresse Carey i 
want ransler Carey to hav my plase 
as long as he shall hve i want drusilla Carey 
to stay and keepe house for hur father and 
marten i want mr carey to give lovica shoop wone 
shale wone pare of 

stockings Rozanner dark wone coveled i want 
cathern stanten 

to hav my cloak and to Dresses 
i want (erasure) mr carey to give 
Won hundred Dolars two the methodus 
Church I want drusila carey to hav 
all my household property as soon as i am ded. 

and after mr carey is ded i 
want drusila (erasure) (erasure) 
cariey two hav my farm. her 

Tereisse X carey ' 
mark 

NUMBER TWO 

"In the Name of god I Samull Eddinger 
of Moore Township County of North- 
ampton 

State of Penn Do make this my Last will 
and testament as follows 
that is to Say my Disire 
my son John he Shall have one 
thousand Dollars in Advance before 
any of the heirs Shall hav any money 
from my Estate personal property 
first my Son John Shall Settle up all 
my Depts funeral Expace &c. 

till all is paid 
my Son John he shall setle 
my personal property as soon 

it is Posible 
he shall pay the of the money from 
my personal goods the half of 
the money to my Daughter Margret and 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 189 

what is Left from the Balance of 
the Thousand Dollrs he tookt of for 

himself 
my Son John Shall pay to my 
Daughter Margret an Annally one a 
Hundred and twenty five Dollars for her 
Natural Life time or as long she 
will Liv in this World 
and my Son John he shall have 
all my Real Estate for his own 
property as Soon my Daughter is Deased 
my Son John Shall not pay any Longer 
Not to her heirs and to nobody 
it be Stopt." 

NUMBER THREE 

The third runs as follows: "it to be understood that any of 
my grandchildren who shall be guilty of having an illegitimate 
child, or of the sin of intemperance, or that do wickedly and illegiti- 
mately profane God's holy name, he, she, or they, to forever debar 
themselves from the benefit of any bequest," and that the shares 
of offending ones should be divided amongst their brothers and 
sisters, "whose life and conversation is free from reproach." 

Claiming to be the Son of a King 

One of the most singular cases that ever came before a court of 
justice was the dispute as to the vaHdity of the will of the late Mr. 
W. R. Smee, probated in 1880 in England. That the testator was 
a man of exceptional ability is beyond doubt. His powers of or- 
ganization were so good that he was employed by the Post Office 
authorities to readjust several departments which had got into a 
state of disorder. A pamphlet of his, on the question of the "Re- 
peal of the Malt Duties," attracted the attention of the acting 
Lord Chief Baron and Mr. Bass, who sought an interview with the 
writer; and after 1860 he wrote many able articles for various 
newspapers. At the same time, there is equally little doubt that 
Mr. Smee had insane delusions of the sort which most commonly 
iafflict lunatics. He believed that he was a son of George IV, and 
rightful heir to the throne, and in 1859, before the composition of 
the articles just mentioned, he wrote a letter to the Prince Consort, 
enclosing a preposterous petition to the Queen on the subject of his 



190 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

"rights." This absurd document stated that when out walking 
with his nurse he had been recognized by a crowd as the Prince of 
Wales, and escorted home amid loud hurrahs. The king had taken 
him on his royal knee, and said to him, "Poor boy, poor boy, get on 
with your learning. A great destiny is preparing for you, though 
you do not know it." Every morning, he asserted, drugs were ad- 
ministered which took away his memory. The Duke of Welling- 
ton, disguised in a mechanic's dress, followed him round Finsbury 
Circus ; and, during his last illness, Mr. William Smee, senior, had 
said: "Extraordinary and unheard of means have been adopted 
to keep him down, or he must have come to the throne." In his 
will the testator left his property to the corporation of Brighton, 
Avishing to be associated with his supposed royal father as a bene- 
factor to that town. As must have been generally expected, the 
Court pronounced against the will which benefited the popular sea- 
side resort. "The fact that a man was capable of transacting busi- 
ness, to whatever extent that might go, however complicated the 
business might be, and however considerable the powers of intellect 
it might require, did not exclude the idea of his being of unsound 
mind," the president stated in the course of his interesting judg- 
ment. "A man might be a good carpenter and follow his calling, 
and yet his mind might be tainted with insanity to such an extent 
that he might he held irresponsible for a crime on the ground that 
he did not know the nature of the act he committed. Therefore, all 
the arguments addressed to the jury on the subject of the testator's 
capacity to deal with complex subjects, to write pamphlets, and to 
make calculations, had nothing to do with the question whether 
he was of unsound mind or not. He was admittedly of unsound 
mind, because shown by that which was the most conclusive symp- 
tom and evidence of unsoundness — namely, the presence of delu- 
sions — that was to say, ideas which they could not conceive any 
rational man entertaining." These arguments do not tend to sim- 
plify the difficult duties of those who have the misfortune to be 
called upon to give advice in cases of mental disease. 

A WoBD Left Out 

Mary Richardson, who died on the 28th of May, 1874, made, by 
her will, numerous charitable bequests, amongst which was £500 to 
the "London Church Building Society." There being no society 
in London bearing that title exactly, a petition was presented by 



I give to my sister .... 


. .. 20 


" Jeanne 


. .. 10 


Pauline 


... 6 


Marie 


... 6 


Julie 


6 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 191 

the treasurers of the London Diocesan Church Building Society 
for the payment out of court of the bequest named. The Bishop 
of London's fund Ukewise presented its claini ; as also did the In- 
corporated Society for Promoting the Enlargement Building, and 
Repairing of Churches in England and Wales, the latter supposing 
that it most exactly answered the description of a London church 
building society. The Vice-Chancellor, however, Sir C. Hall, 
decided in favor of the London Diocesan Church Building Society, 
because the words used most nearly approached those of the title 
given by the testatrix. 

An Enigma 

will op eosine barbot 

I give to Gustave 6 

Eugenie 7 

" Annie 14 

75 

This is my last will and testament, made at Meude, 20th October, 
1767. RosiNE Bahrot. 

As this was the entire will,"without any clue whatever to its sig- 
nification, the surviving relatives, for there were no executors ap- 
pointed, set their wits to work to discover its enigmatic signification. 
At last they found that the testatrix's property amounted to 
75,000 francs, and they therefore concluded that each unit rep- 
resented 1000. Another difficulty arose from the fact that there 
were in the family several repetitions of some of the names men- 
tioned in the will. The decision, however, was worked out by 
common sense, and, strange to say, two trials at law that followed, 
failed to overthrow it. 

Body bequeathed fob Useful Purposes 

A certain testator devised his property to a stranger, wholly dis- 
inheriting the heir or next of kin, and directed that his executors 
should "cause some part of his bowels to be converted into fiddle 
strings, and that others should be sublimed into smelling salts, and 
that the remainder of his body should be vitrified into lenses, for 
optical purposes." In a letter attached to this will the testator 
said, "The world may think this to be done in a spirit of singularity 



192 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

or whim, but I have a mortal aversion to funeral pomp, and I wish 
my body to be converted into purposes useful to mankind." The 
testator was shown to have conducted his aflPairs with great shrewd- 
ness and abihty, and had been regarded by his associates through 
life as a person possessing high business quahfications, and the will 
was upheld. 

Will contained a Sbbmon 

Another unusual will showing a strong religious belief and which 
incorporates a sermon to his heirs, is that of £has Boudinot which 
was probated in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, in 1821. The 
win contained twenty-six closely written pages of manuscript. 
The beginning of the wiU which contains the sermon is as follows : 

"Know aU men by these presents that I, Elias Boudinot, late of 
the city of Philadelphia, and director of the mint of the United 
States, but now of the city of Burlington, N.J., Doctor of Laws, 
being by the unmerited goodness of Almighty God, after great afflic- 
tion, by a long series of bad health, and having passed my eighty- 
first year and returned to a tolerable state of bodily health, so as to 
possess a sound and disposing mind and memory ; but being often 
reminded of the uncertainty of life and the propriety of settling the 
intended disposition of my property while free from the distresses 
of a sick bed, do make and pubhsh this my last will and testament. 

"And as this instrument cannot take effect till after my death, 
but must then be frequently resorted to by my representatives, 
I do therefore improve so good an opportunity of repeating the 
profession I have made for more than sixty years, and which by the 
free grace of God, through Jesus Christ, and by the continued in- 
fluences of his Holy Spirit, has been strengthened and confirmed 
by the most happy experience, founded on sohd ground and by 
a thorough examination and inquiry into the divine scriptures 
through that long period, and in which I hope under the same 
blessed influences to finish my mortal race, I mean that of a firm, 
unfeigned and prevailing behef in one sovereign, omnipotent and 
eternal Jehovah, a God of infinite love and mercy who hath de- 
livered us from the powers of darkness and hath translated us into 
the kingdom of his dear Son, in whom we have redemption through 
his blood, even the forgiveness of sins, who is the image of the invin- 
cible God, the first bom of every creature, and he is before all things 
and by him all things consist, and whoever has been and still is rec- 
onciled a guilty world unto himself by his righteousness and atone- 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 193 

ment, his death and his resurrection, through whom alone hfe 
and immortality have been brought to light in his gospel, and by 
the all-powerful influence of his daily spirit, is daily sanctifying, 
enhghtening and leading his faithful people into all necessary truth. 
"And as it has pleased a holy and sovereign God to favor me 
with the continuance of one only child, to whom I most cordially 
wish and pray for the best and greatest possible good in time and 
eternity, I do in the most solemn manner, as in the presence of the 
one only great and glorious God, the Father, the Son and the Holy 
Spirit, and in view of an approaching eternity, beseech and en- 
treat her to make the fear and love of God the great objects of her 
constant attention and pursuit, and in a particular manner that she 
will by a persevering inquiry into, and a thorough knowledge of the 
spirit and power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which she has been 
so long, and I trust through divine mercy savingly acquainted 
with, endeavor to cherish and increase the like temper, disposition 
and usefulness in hfe as are therein so clearly and plainly taught 
and enforced, and which, generally speaking, consist in an univer- 
sal benevolence, meekness, self-denial, deep contrition for sin and 
unfeigned love to our brethren, with an habitual hvely faith in 
and dependence upon our Ixjrd Jesus Christ, as the only atone- 
ment for our sins, the source of every blessing, and when the 
gift of God will inevitably work by love, purify the heart and be 
productive of good works, aways remembering that however the 
profession of a particular denomination of our holy reUgion among 
men may be beneficial to herself and others in their state of 
imperfection in which every aid should be sought to support 
and manifest the Christian character, yet that the Church of 
Christ is one universal and Catholic Church, a communion of 
saints not confined to time or place, name or party of Christians, 
but that every one who exercises deep and sincere repentance 
towards God, unfeigned faith in his beloved Son and worketh 
righteousness, is born of God. 

"And I do more expressly press it upon her under every circum- 
stance of life, to consider that day as worse than lost, in which she 
does not seek earnestly communion with her Heavenly Father 
under the special influence of His Holy Spirit, and she may be posi- 
tively assured that this may be done even amidst the common and 
ordinary business of life as in the most profound and secret Retire- 
ments, assisted by the ordinances of his gospel ; would also earnestly 
recommend her habitually Uving under prevailing sense of God's 



194 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

overruling providence, which, however wonderful, regards the 
smallest things of those who love and fear him, even to the number- 
ing of the hairs of the heads. 

"As to all and singular, the temporal estate wherewith it has 
pleased God in his undeserved mercy to amply reward my industry 
and application to business, for the use and enjoyment of which I 
do him my most grateful thanks, acknowledging his great goodness 
and beneficence to me therein, I do dispose of the same and all my 
estate therein in the following manner, wishing to do what I think 
by solemn and serious consideration, will not be contrary to his 
divine will, but in the end may advance the honor of his great 
name." 

Thereafter follow the bequests. 

A Partnership with God 

We might head this paper "Why Paul Duhalde made his Will," 
for certainly no idea could be much more original than that on 
which its principal, and disputed, clause was founded. 

A brief sketch of the history of Paul Duhalde cannot fail to 
interest our readers, and will best explain the peculiarity of this 
testamentary document. 

This individual was born at Paris in 1691 ; he died in 1725 ; he 
was the son of a dealer in diamonds, and lost his father at the age of 
sixteen years, when he was sent to Spain by his mother to learn the 
arcana of the business. The lad had no success, and returned. 
He was then placed with a merchant at Rouen, but did not get on, 
and subsequently passed to America, but his restless disposition 
soon sent him back to France. This brought him to the year 1717, 
and he was now twenty-six years of age. He remained some 
months with his mother, and then, having contracted a partnership 
with two jewel merchants, set off a second time to Madrid ; this 
enterprise was, however, not more successful than those preceding 
it, and he came back to Paris, in the month of February, 1719, 
profoundly discouraged, and not without reason. 

Here the melancholy reflections consequent on his repeated and 
persistent failures suggested to him a very singular notion, that 
of contracting a partnership with God. He proceeded to enter 
seriously into this abnormal contract, and drew up an act in regular 
and technical form, which he transcribed into his day-book on Sep- 
tember 24, 1719, in the following terms: "I have resolved to enter 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 195 

into a partnership with God, promising and undertaking to fulfil 
all the within-mentioned articles ; and I enjoin my heirs, whoever 
they may be, to carry out these my intentions in case I should die 
before accomplishing them myself." 

He then proceeds to declare that this association, the object of 
which is to deal in precious stones, shall hold good for five years, 
reckoning from October 2, 1719. He fixes his capital at 3000 
Spanish piastres, about $3000, being all that remained to him of his 
patrimony. He binds himself not to enter into any other partner- 
ship during the five years, unless with a woman, by marriage. As 
soon as the five years shall have elapsed, he proposes to balance his 
accounts, to begin by withdrawing from the partnership the 3000 
piastres with which he started ; secondly, to take from it the dowry 
that his wife may have brought him ; thirdly, any sum or sums that 
may have fallen in to him by succession or otherwise during the 
time; after which he adds, "And the surplus shall be equally 
divided between God and myself." 

This unique partnership having been thus determined, Duhalde 
starts a third time for Spain, but the outset of this new attempt does 
not augur well for the partners. Two years after, however (1721), 
the project of a double marriage between the Courts of France and 
Spain gives a new impetus to the branch of commerce in which he is 
engaged, and he resolves to improve the opportunity. At last 
Fortune seems to smile upon his endeavors, and the ultimate re- 
sults exceed his fondest hopes. He now returns to Paris, resolving 
to settle himself finally there. 

In 1722 he married the daughter of De Hansy, a well-known 
bookseller, who brought him 30,000 Uvres, and from his mother, 
who died in September of the same year, he inherited 70,226 
Uvres. On May 20, 1723, a son was born to him. 

Meantime Dulhalde never loses sight of the obHgations he has 
taken upon himself toward his partner. He draws, from time to 
time, from the common fund, sums which he distributes in the name 
of God, to the poor, and inscribes these with regularity and preci- 
sion in his registers. 

On October 1, 1724, the partnership expires. Duhalde strikes 
a balance of his accounts, and finds from the aggregate of the 
entries that he has already paid to the poor 13,684 livres ; but this 
is not all. In the statement of account drawn up he has considered 
three classes of stones as constituting a portion of the profits : one 
of these lots is at Amsterdam, one at Madrid, and one at Paris ; 



196 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

these he shares equally, inscribing on the packets which contain 
them : "Half for the poor" ; and at the foot of the statement of 
account he writes : "Misfortune and malediction upon my heirs, 
whoever they may be, if, under any pretext whatever, they should 
fail to distribute to the poor the half of whatever proceeds may 
come from the jewels now in my possession, if so be God should call 
me away before I shall have been able to satisfy their claims myself. 
Further, if by any extraordinary event it should appear at my death 
that no other amounts are forthcoming but those godds or sums 
which are virtually the property of the poor, let not a sacrilegious 
hand be laid upon them ; they constitute a deposit which can under 
no circumstances be diverted from its just cause." 

In addition to this precaution, and in order to secure to the poor 
the amounts he regarded as strictly their due, Duhalde drew up in 
the month of January, 1725, eight bills of 1000 livres each, payable 
to order from year to year, comprising the years 1725 to 1732, 
and placed these bills in the hands of the Vicar of St. Germain 
I'Auxerrois. 

On January 14, 1725, he fell ill and made his will, by which 
he declares that : "In the books which contain the minutes of my 
affairs there are several articles touching matters that concern the 
poor ; I beg my executor to examine these articles with the great- 
est accuracy, and to see they are carried out with the strictest 
attention." 

Two months after, Duhalde dies, leaving a young widow, a 
minor, and an infant two years old. The schedule of property is 
called over, the administrators of the Hdpital General are invited 
to attend. Among the effects of the deceased are found packets 
of precious stones, labelled "Half for the poor"; their portion is 
estimated at 18,188 Uvres. The administrators claim it, but offer 
to compromise for the sum of 15,900 ff. The young widow pro- 
tests ; the guardian contends that the will should be set aside on 
the ground that no sane men ever enter into partnership with God. 
The parties appeal to law, and, after a spirited altercation, a 
judgment is obtained, April 3, 1726, on the decision of D'Agues- 
seau (Avocat-G6ndral), ordering that "The will of Duhalde and the 
acts and codicils dependent thereon shall be fulfilled according to 
the desire of the testator ; he consequently condemns the guardian 
of the widow and her son to hand over to the administrators of the 
hospital funds the jewels constituting the legacy made by the testa- 
tor to the poor, but leaving him the choice of paying the sum in 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 197 

money value, as estimated by experts to be provided by the Court ; 
the course adopted by the said guardian to be decided on within a 
fortnight." 

Eccentric but Charitable Frenchman 

A gentleman of French birth, named Pierre Henri Baume, died 
some years ago at Douglas, Isle of Man, leaving a large sum for 
charitable purposes. He was born at Marseilles in 1797, and at an 
early age was sent to a military college at Naples, where he became 
private secretary to King Ferdinand. About the year 1825 he 
came to London. At one time he was a preacher holding peculiar 
views on theology, then became manager of a theatrical company, 
and subsequently got up a scheme for the establishment of model 
gardens. He took a Hvely interest in various charitable institu- 
tions, and expressed a strong desire to accumulate a great fortune, 
with the object of eventually endowing or establishing an institu- 
tion, on principles which he had himself drawn up, for the education 
and benefit of youth of the poorer classes. By great perseverance 
and industry, and by subjecting himself almost to privation, he at 
last succeeded in amassing a considerable fortune, and bought land 
at Colney-hatch, together with a small estate called Chifont, on 
Dibdin-hill, in Buckinghamshire. Several obstacles arose as to the 
fulfilment of his educational project, and he was ultimately induced 
to abandon this idea. After Uving about a quarter of a century in 
London, he went to Manchester and engaged vigorously in a move- 
ment "pubUc-houses without drink." He also instituted Sunday 
afternoon lectures to working-men, which were carried on with vary- 
ing success for several years. In 1857 he settled in the Isle of Man, 
purchased an estate there, and afterwards resided on the island. 
At Douglas he fitted up an odd kind of residence, the entrance to 
which he made almost inaccessible, and admission to which 
could only be obtained by those whom he had initiated into a 
pecuhar knock. In this little den he lived Uke a hermit, sleeping 
in a hammock slung from the roof, for the room was so crowded 
with dusty books that there was no space for a bedstead or even for 
a table on which to take his food. He stated that his object in liv- 
ing in this condition and depriving himself of all comforts was to 
enable him to leave as much money as possible for charitable 
and educational purposes. He resided in this miserable place 
for several years ; but his health failing him, he was induced, later, 
to remove, and died at a tradesman's house in Duke street. 



198 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Douglas. Public attention was directed to M. Baume's affairs in 
London, in consequence of proceedings taken by him to evict a 
number of squatters who had located themselves on his Colney- 
hatch property, which was popularly known as "The Frenchman's 
Farm." M. Baume took out letters of naturalization, which en- 
abled him to enjoy the rights and privileges of an Englishman, 
and to dispose of his property as he thought best. He left the 
whole of his real and personal property, valued at £54,000, in trust 
for charitable purposes in the Isle of Man, on his death. 

"Louia Agassiz, Teacheb " 

The will of Agassiz, probated in June, 1874, begins thus : "The 
last will and testament of Louis Agassiz, of Cambridge, in the 
County of Middlesex and Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 
teacher." 

Of him the Boston Globe said: "We should think the heart of 
every schoolmaster and schoolmistress in the land should bound 
at reading this simple announcement. The great naturalist, the 
peer of Aristotle, Linnseus, Cuvier, and Von Baer, calls himself, 
in the most solemn of all documents, 'a teacher.' There is, to 
us, something inspiring in this designation. All teachers, whether 
they are professors in colleges or directors in the commonest vil- 
lage schools, must be thrilled and invigorated by the statement 
that Agassiz is proud to enroll himself in their ranks. The good, 
grand, noble man, the apostle of pure science, the investigator 
and discoverer, the person who was preeminently a scientific 
force as well as a scientific intelligence dies with the feeling that his 
occupation was that of a 'teacher.' He, of course, leaves little 
or no property to his family ; the noble woman, the bereaved wife, 
the constant companion of his intellect as well as of his heart, she 
who followed him whithersoever he was led by the spirit of scien- 
tific research, is, we suppose, the executrix of little but his glory ; 
but the will is sublime, because it records the fact that Louis 
Agassiz was 'a teacher.' That was his occupation on earth. 
What it may be above, we do not pretend to know. One thing we 
know is this, that the simple preamble to his will must kindle into 
a generous flame every soul engaged in the great cause of educa- 
tion. 'Louis Agassiz, teacher!' but what a teacher! We pre- 
serve many memories of precious conversations with him on this 
question of teaching. He considered that teaching was a com- 
munication of life as well as of knowledge. A lad of ten years once 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 199 

contrived to get into the State House when Agassiz was urging the 
incontrovertible arguments for his 'museum.' We happened to 
jostle against the lad as he was leaving the hall, and asked him, 
laughingly, his opinion of the performance. 'Well,' he said, 'I've 
been to many lectures, and have been tired to death, but Agassiz 
comes right up to my notion of the circus ! ' When we told Agassiz 
of this queer compliment, he was much pleased. He wanted to 
see the boy who had been so unconsciously appreciative of the 
spirit of his speech. He knew that he had magnetized grave and 
elderly men, and that what he asked for would be cheerfully 
granted ; but he desired to shake hands with the lad who thought 
he was as good as 'a circus,' and sent out from his deep lungs 
great roars of laughter in welcoming the testimony of his juvenile 
admirer. 

"It would be idle to multiply instances of the thorough human- 
ity and geniality of Agassiz. Everybody who knew him can tell 
hundreds of anecdotes illustrative of his sympathy with all forms 
of life, whether in the jelly-fish, the human infant, the developing 
boy or girl, the mature man or woman. Still his conviction of 
the immateriality and personality of mind was something wonder- 
fid in so austere a naturalist. We happened once to please him by 
defining a jelly-fish as organized water. 'Now look at it through 
the microscope,' he said. 'But, Agassiz, the play of the organiza- 
tion is so wonderful that it seems to me that nothing but mind 
can account for it.' 'You are right,' was his answer; 'in some 
incomprehensible way, God Almighty has created these beings, 
and I cannot doubt of their immortality any more than I doubt 
of my own.' His fealty to the rights of animals exceeded that of 
any great naturalist who ever preceded him. Incompetent as 
we are to give him his due rank among the great naturalists of 
the world, we think he excelled every naturalist who has gone 
before him in striking at the soul and individuality of all animals 
below man. It is impossible to convey in words the peculiar 
feeling which Agassiz had on this matter. Doubtless this large 
and genial genius is now satisfied. We cannot penetrate beyond 
the veil. 

"What we can do, however, is to celebrate Agassiz as a teacher, 
and try to send a new glow into the heart of every person engaged 
in the difficult art of teaching. How hard is their work ! The 
present generation is brought up, as far as education is concerned, 
on the most economical principles. No consideration whatever 



200 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

is given to the point of the will of Agassiz. When he proudly calls 
himself 'a teacher,' he means that he is a radiator of heat as well 
as of light. A poet has well described the method of instruction 
adopted by Agassiz : 

" ' He was like the sun giving me life ; 

Pouring into the caves of my young brain 
Knowledge from his bright fountains.' " 

Pipe, Tobacco and Matches in his Coffin 

Mr. Klaes, who was known among his acquaintances by the 
name of the " King of Smokers," died some years ago near Rotter- 
dam. According to the Belgian papers he had amassed a large 
fortune in the linen trade, and had erected near Rotterdam a 
mansion, one portion of which was devoted to the arrangement of 
a collection of pipes according to their nationality and chronologi- 
cal order. A few days before his death he summoned his lawyer, 
and made his will, in which he directed that all the smokers of the 
country should be invited to his funeral, that each should be pre- 
sented with 10 lb. of tobacco and two Dutch pipes of the newest 
fashion, on which should be engraved the name, arms and date of 
the decease of the testator. He requested all his relatives, friends 
and funeral guests to be careful to keep their pipes alight during 
the funeral ceremonies, after which they should empty the ashes 
from their pipes on the coffin. The poor of the neighborhood who 
attended to his last wishes were to receive annually, on the anni- 
versary of his death, 10 lb. of tobacco and a small cask of good beer. 
He desired that his oak coffin should be lined with the cedar of his 
old Havana cigar boxes, and that a box of French caporal and 
a packet of old Dutch tobacco should be placed at the foot of his 
coffin. His favorite pipe was to be placed by his side, along with 
a box of matches, a flint and steel, and some tinder, as he said there 
was no knowing what might happen. A clever calculator has 
made out that Mr. Klaes had, during his eighty years of life, 
smoked more than four tons of tobacco, and had drunk about 
500,000 quarts of beer. 

Thankfulness to God 

In the codicil aimexed to the last will of Robert North, Esq., 
of Scarborough, England, proved in October, 1765, the following 
occurs : 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 201 

" I give to Mrs. R. G. my English walnut bureau, made large to 
contain clothes, but hope she will not forget when she makes use 
of it that graces and virtues are a lady's most ornamental dress ; 
and that that dress has this peculiar excellence, that it will last for 
ever and improve by wearing. 

" I give to Lieutenant W. M., my godson, my sword, and hope he 
will (if ever occasion should require it) convince a rash world he 
has learnt to obey his God as well as his general, and that he enter- 
tains too true a sense of honour to admit anything into the char- 
acter of a good soldier which is inconsistent with the duty of a good 
Christian. 

" And now having, I hope, made a proper disposition of my lands 
and money, those pearls of great price in the present esteem of 
men, let me take this opportunity of expressing my gratitude to 
the grand original proprietor; and here I must direct my praises 
to that benign Being who through all the stages of my life hath en- 
compassed me with a profusion of favours, and who by a wonderful 
and gracious Providence hath converted my very misfortunes and 
disappointments into blessings ; nor let me omit, what the business 
just finished seems more particularly to require of me, to return 
Him my unfeigned thanks, who, to all the comforts and con- 
veniences of life, hath superadded this also of being useful even in 
death, by thus enabling me to dispose of a double portion, namely, 
out of love to the poor, and another of gratitude to my friends. 

" All my faults and follies, almost infinite as they have been, I 
leave behind me with wishes; that as here they had their birth 
and origin, they may here be buried in everlasting oblivion. My 
infant graces and little embryo virtues are, I trust, gone before 
me into heaven, and will, I hope, prove successful messengers to 
prepare my way. Thither, O Lord, let them mount up with un- 
remitting constancy, while my soul in the meantime feasts itself 
with ecstatic reflections on that ravishing change when, from the 
nonsense and folly of an impertinent, vain, and wicked world, 
it shall be summoned to meet its kindred spirits, and admitted 
into the bhssful society of angels and men made perfect; when, 
instead of sickness, gloominess, and sorrow (the melancholy retinue 
of sin and house of clay), glory and immortal youth shall be its 
attendants, and its habitation the palace of the King of Kings : 
this will be a life worth dying for indeed ! thus to exist, tho' but in 
prospect, is at present joy, gladness, transport, ecstacy ! Fired with 
the view of this transcendent happiness and triumphant in hope. 



202 ANCIENT, CUEIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

these noble privileges of a Christian, how is it possible to forbear 
crying out O Death, why art thou so long in coming ? why tarry 
the wheels of thy chariot ? 

"To that Supreme Being, whose treasures and goodness are 
thus infinite and inexhaustible, be all honour and glory for ever. 
Amen." 



CHAPTER V 

TESTAMENTARY AND KINDRED MISCELLANY 

"Let the world slide, let the world go, 
A fig for care, and a fig for woe ! 
If I can't pay, why I can owe. 
And death makes equal the h^gh and low." 

Testamentakt Capacity 

The following was copied a short time ago from a legal journal : 
a stranger on horseback was passing through a country village; 
a church was being moved, and he asked a resident the reason; 
the latter answered : 

"Well, stranger, I'm mayor of these here diggin's, an' I'm fer 
law enforcement. We've got an ordenance what says no saloon 
shall be nearer than three hundred feet to a church. I give 'em 
jest three days to move the church." 

I mean no disrespect in linking this decision of the Mayor with 
that of the Supreme Court of one of our great Western States. 

That Supreme Court recently handed down a decision on testa- 
mentary capacity. It would seem that extreme mental obliquity 
is not a bar to will-making : here is the syllabus in the case : 

"That where the testator used excessive amounts of a patent 
kidney medicine and recommended it to his friends for all kinds of 
diseases; manifested a hitherto unknown desire to make political 
speeches, and was positive in his utterances that certain candidates 
should not be permitted to run for office, and that Bryan was not 
honest and McKinley was not fit to be President, and that he could 
make a better President than McKinley ; got up at night and sang 
Psalms ; took his dogs and went hunting at night, though he got 
no game, and had not in former years been known to hunt ; exhib- 
ited his stallion and other stock at church meetings, and failed to 
recognize acquaintances; carried on disconnected conversations, 
had a roaring in his head, used coal oil in his ears, and poured coal 
oil on trees and when it killed them said he had no sense, — neither 
these eccentricities nor other peculiarities like them show a want 
of capacity to make a will." 

203 



204 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

This testator was a being of a high order of reasoning as com- 
pared with many such cases to be met with. Old Diogenes said : 
"Most men are within a finger's breadth of being mad; for if a 
man walk with his middle finger pointing out, folk will think him 
mad, but not so if it be his forefinger." 

Ordinary mortals are very strict in measuring craziness : even 
a slight divergence from the normal standard, or their standard 
of normaUty, causes them to adjudge their neighbors crazy: the 
courts are, however, much more lenient in their judgments in deal- 
ing with matters testamentary, and seem inclined to the view that 
all men are sane, only some are less so : or, as the Kentuckian says 
of a certain liquid produced in his State, "It's all good but some 
better than others " ; in fact, that weird performances and peculiar 
actions are indications of individuality and not of mental incapac- 
ity. The Supreme Court of North Carohna has decided that while 
a failure to go to church is a moral deUnquency, yet it does not unfit 
a man to make a will. 

The Supreme Court of New York has decided that though one 
believe in all the abominations and wanton rites of ancient Greece 
and Rome, and in sincerity worship Egypt's wandering gods, dis- 
guised in brutish form, or, Hke the Hindoo, stand for a lifetime on 
one leg to secure salvation, or be yet a howling dervish, and rave 
and gash his naked body, thinking he is doing God service, yet he 
may be able to transact the affairs of life or dispose suitably of 
his property. 

Any number of individuals have been accused of inability to 
make their last wills on account of an inclination to hunt for hidden 
treasures. One such in New York State took with her her nephew, 
and had him carry a red rooster under his arm for good luck, 
and they dug diligently, but found no gold. She left gold, how- 
ever, but not so apportioned as to suit her relatives, and a will 
contest followed. Another person bandaged his face with hand- 
kerchiefs, to prevent false impressions being made on his mind : 
probably he did not succeed, yet his will was sustained. One 
gentleman charged his wife with putting tongs in his bed to make 
him uneasy. Whether hot or cold tongs, is not stated by the 
decision of the Supreme Court of Connecticut; but the Court 
did decide that such an offence was more often chargeable to the 
heart than to the head. 

A behef in perpetual motion, and a denial of the revolution of 
the earth on its axis, and assertions that "the sun do move," have 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 205 

not been sufficient to undermine testamentary capacity, accord- 
ing to the Supreme Court of Wisconsin. 

Frequent efforts have been made to show that marriage late in 
life was evidence of insanity, but always unsuccessfully. 

The Supreme Court of Connecticut held that it was a perfectly 
natural trait for the aged to tell favorite stories and to embellish 
them a little more or less, as fancy prompted. 

A woman's fondness for gossip, and the constant changing of her 
mind in regard to the arrangement of the house she was building 
and the color of paints used for it, were insufficient reasons for 
setting aside her will : on the contrary, the Court intimated that 
it was perfectly natural that she should change her mind and that 
the workmen should be scolded. Certain it is, that one feature 
of this decision has long been sustained by custom. 

The same Court, the Supreme Court of Michigan, decided that 
a disposition on the part of an individual to give his services to the 
United States Govermnent in the management of its financial 
affairs, did not necessarily show insanity, and added that if it did, 
most of us would not escape. 

So, after contemplating some of these pecuUar and generally 
uncomfortable departures from the straight line of human conduct, 
one feels that Dryden spoke by the card when he said, "There is a 
pleasure sure in being mad which none but madmen know." 

Practical Suggestions fob Writing Wills 

Mr. John Marshall Gest, a prominent member of the Philadel- 
phia Bar, delivered an address to the students of the Law School of 
the University of Pennsylvania, October 17th, 1907, on "Practical 
Suggestions for Writing Wills." It is by far the most entertaining 
and erudite composition the author has ever read on the subject. 
It can be found in the American Law Register for November, 
1907, Volume 55, No. 8. Mr. Gest opens his address in the fol- 
lowing words : 

"Every man who knows how to write thinks he knows how to 
write a will, and long may this happy hallucination possess the 
minds of our lay brethren, for surely St. Ives, the Patron Saint of 
lawyers, extends to none a heartier welcome in the life beyond 
than to the Jolly Testator who makes his own Will." 

Too little is recorded of this Patron Saint of the legal profession. 
The author offers the following information concerning him : 



206 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Over in France, on its western shore, is a peninsula, the province 
of Bretagne, or Brittany, and on its rock-bound coast the waves of 
the Atlantic forever beat ; it derives its name from the fact that 
during early history, the inhabitants of Great Britain, in times of 
local strife, left their native country, and went to Brittany to 
reside. This province is one of the most interesting portions of 
Europe, being rich in history and Celtic ruins, and its landscapes 
are said to be surprisingly beautiful ; its people still retain their 
ancient language and customs. 

In the year 1253, there was born in Brittany, of a noble family, 
one Yves-Helori, who is recognized the world over as the Patron 
Saint of lawyers ; he espoused the cause of the orphan, the widow, 
and the poor ; he was greatly honored by his countrymen, and was 
canonized by Clement VI at Avignon; many monuments have 
been erected and hymns written to perpetuate his virtues and his 
memory ; he died at the age of fifty years, and on a tablet in one 
of the churches of Brittany are these words in Latin : 

"St. Ives was of Brittany; 
He was a lawyer, and not a robber. 
At which the people wondered." 

FoUowing the opening words of his address, Mr. Gest says: 
"But with deference to amateur lawyers, it is by no means easy to 
draw a proper will. Lord Coke said, in Butler and Baker's case, 
one which had been argued twenty-one times, "I find great doubts 
and controversies daily arise on devises made by last wills, in 
respect of obscure and insensible words and repugnant sentences, 
the will being made in haste, and some pretend that the testator 
in respect of extreme pain was not compos mentis and divers other 
scruples and questions are moved upon wills. But if you please 
to devise your lands by will, make it by good advice in your perfect 
memory and inform your Counsel truly of the estates and tenures 
of your land, and by God's Grace the resolution of the Judges in 
this case will be a good direction to learned counsel to make your 
will according to law and thereby prevent questions and con- 
troversies." 

"For some three centuries," adds Mr. Gest, "this sound advice 
has been open to him who would read it, and yet testators have 
such a reluctance to pay a fee to a lawyer, that they will draw 
their wills themselves, sometimes with the assistance of Dunlap, 
or have them, as Lord Coke says in the preface to the second 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 207 

Volume of his Reports, 'Intricately, absurdly and repugnantly 
set down by parsons, scriveners and such other imperites.' " 

Sir Edward Coke died in 1634 ; as is well known, he was one of 
the Chief Justices of England. His ardent support of liberal 
measures in Parliament, especially the right of Freedom of Debate, 
brought him into trouble, and he suffered nine months' imprison- 
ment in the Tower of London. He had great popularity, and his 
utterances and courage did much to contribute to the final result 
in the struggle between the Crown and Commons. His books are 
still regarded as authoritative treatises on Enghsh Law. 

A Last Will 

The following prose poem was written by Mr. WiUiston Fish, a 
prominent lawyer of Chicago, Illinois : Mr. Fish still resides in Chi- 
cago. The will is a sentimental and purely fanciful creation : it first 
appeared in "Harper's Weekly " in 1898, and is reproduced here by 
permission of Messrs. Harper and Brothers. The will has become 
one of the classics of American literature, and has been pubhshed 
and republished by newspapers and magazines throughout the 
English-speaking world. The original from the pen of Mr. Fish 
varies slightly from the copy here given, this production having 
been embellished somewhat by various editors. It has sometimes 
been designated as the "Insane Man's Will," and Mr. Fish has been 
deluged with inquiries on the subject : the history given above, 
however, is based on personal investigation made by the author. 

"He was stronger and cleverer, no doubt, than other men, and 
in many broad lines of business he had grown rich, until his wealth 
exceeded exaggeration. One morning, in his oflBce, he directed a 
request to his confidential lawyer to come to him in the afternoon. 
He intended to have his will drawn. A will is a solemn matter, even 
with men whose lives are given up to business, and who are by habit 
mindful of the future. After giving this direction he took up no 
other matter, but sat at his desk alone and in silence. 

" It was a day when summer was first new. The pale leaves upon 
the trees were starting forth upon the still unbending branches. 
The grass in the parks had a freshness in its green like the fresh- 
ness of the blue in the sky and of the yellow of the sun — a fresh- 
ness to make one wish that life might renew its youth. The clear 
breezes from the south wantoned about, and then were stUl, as if 
loath to go finally away. Half idly, half thoughtfully, the rich 



208 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

man wrote upon the white paper before him, beginning what he 
wrote with Capital letters, such as he had not made since, as a boy 
in school, he had taken pride in his skill with the pen : 

"I, Charles Lounsbury, being of sound mind and disposing 
memory, do hereby make and pubUsh this my last will and testa- 
ment, in order as' justly as may be to distribute my interest in the 
world among succeeding men. 

"That part of my interest which is known in law and recognized 
in the sheep-bound volumes as my property, being inconsiderable 
and of no account, I make no disposal of in this my will. 

"My right to live, being but a Ufe estate, is not at my disposal, 
but these things excepted all else in the world I now proceed to 
devise and bequeath : 

"Item: I give to good fathers and mothers, in trust for their 
children, all good little words of praise and encouragement, and 
all quaint pet names and endearments, and I charge said parents 
to use them justly and generously, as the needs of their children 
may require. 

"Item: I leave to children inclusively, but only for the term 
of their childhood, all and every, the flowers of the fields and the 
blossoms of the woods, with the right to play among them freely, 
according to the customs of children, warning them at the same 
time against thistles and thorns. And I devise to children the 
banks of the brooks, and the golden sands beneath the waters 
thereof, and the odors of the willows that dip therein, and the white' 
clouds that float high over the giant trees. And I leave the chil- 
dren the long, long days to be merry in, in a thousand ways, and 
the night and the moon and the train of the Milky Way to wonder 
at, but subject nevertheless to the rights hereinafter given to lovers. 

"Item: I devise to boys jointly all the useful idle fields and 
commons where ball may be played ; all pleasant waters where one 
may swim ; all snow-clad hills where one may coast and all streams 
and ponds where one may fish, or where, when grim Winter comes, 
one may skate ; to have and to hold the same for the period of their 
boyhood. And all meadows with the clover blossoms and butter- 
flies thereof, the woods and their appurtenances, the squirrels and 
birds, and echoes and strange noises, and all distant places which 
may be visited, together with the adventures there found, and I 
give to said boys each his own place at the fireside at night, with all 
pictures that may be seen in the burning wood, to enjoy without 
let or hindrance, and without any incumbrance of care. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 209 

"Item : I give and bequeath to girls all beauty and gentleness ; 
and to them I give the crown of purity and innocence which is 
theirs by right of birth and sex ; and also in due season the abiding 
love of brave and generous husbands, and the divine trust of 
motherhood. 

"Item : To young men jointly I devise and bequeath all boister- 
ous, inspiring sports of rivalry, and I give to them the disdain of 
weakness and undaunted confidence in their own strength, though 
they are rude. I give them the power to make lasting friend- 
ships and of possessing companions, and to them exclusively I give 
all merry songs and brave choruses, to sing with lusty voices. 

"Item : To lovers, I devise their imaginary world, with whatever 
they may need, as the stars of the sky, the red roses by the wall, 
the bloom of the hawthorn, the sweet strains of music, and aught 
else by which they may desire to figure to each other the lastingness 
and beauty of their love. 

"Item: And to those who are no longer children or youths or 
lovers, I leave memory, and I bequeath to them the volumes of 
the poems of Burns and Shakespeare and of other poets, if there 
be others, to the end that they may live over the old days again, 
freely and fully, without tithe or diminution. 

"Item: To our loved ones with snowy crowns I bequeath the 
happiness of old age, the love and gratitude of their children, until 
they fall asleep." 

The Lawyer's Best Friend 

A hundred years ago, English lawyers, when dining together, 
used to drink to the health of "The Schoolmaster," for school- 
masters then often drew up wills for people, and by their ignorance 
of legal technicaUties gave the gentlemen of the long robe much 
remunerative business. "To the lawyers' best friend — the man 
who makes his own wiU," was also a regular toa.'jt at dinners of the 

Bar. 

The following poem is inscribed to the legal profession : 

, THE JOLLY TESTATOR WHO MAKES HIS OWN WILL 

"Ye lawyers who live upon litigants' fees. 
And who need a good many to live at your ease ; 
Grave or gay, wise or witty, whate'er your degree, 
Plain stuff or State's Counsel, ta,ke counsel of me : — ■ 
When a festive occasion your spirit unbends. 
You should never forget the profession's best friends : 



210 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

So we'll send round the wine, and a light bumper fill 
To the jolly testator who makes his own will. 

" He premises his wish and his purpose to save 
All dispute among friends when he's laid in his grave ; 
Then he straightway proceeds more disputes to create 
Than a long summer's day would give time to relate. 
He writes and erases, he blunders and blots. 
He produces such puzzles and Gordian knots. 
That a lawyer intending to frame the thing ill. 
Couldn't match the testator who makes his own will. 

" Testators are good, but a feeling more tender 
Springs up when I think of the feminine gender ! 
The testatrix for me, who, like Telemaque's mother, 
Unweaves at one time what she wove at another.. 
She bequeathes, she repeats, she recalls a donation, 
And ends by revoking her own revocation ; 
Still scribbling or scratching some new codicil. 
Oh ! success to the woman who makes her own will. 

" 'Tisn't easy to say, 'mid her varying vapors, 
What scraps should be deemed testamentary papers. 
'Tisn't easy from these her intention to find. 
When perhaps she herself never knew her own mind. 
Every step that we take, there arises fresh trouble : — 
Is the legacy lapsed ? Is it single or double ? 
No customer brings so much grist to the mill. 
As the wealthy old woman who makes her own will. 

" The law decides questions of meum and tuum. 
By kindly consenting to make the thing suum. 
The ^sopian fable instructively tells. 
What becomes of the oysters, and who gets the shells. 
The legatees starve, but the lawyers are fed ; 
The Seniors have riches, the Juniors have bread ; 
The available surplus of course will be nil. 
From the worthy testator who makes his own will. 

"You had better pay toll when you take to the road. 
Than attempt by a by-way to reach your abode ; 
You had better employ a conveyancer's hand. 
Than encounter the risk that your will shouldn't stand. 
From the broad beaten track when the traveler strays. 
He may land in a bog, or be lost in a maze ; 
And the law, when defied, will avenge itself still. 
On the man and the woman who make their own will." 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 211 



Ingersoll on Decoration Day 

Robert G. Ingersoll died at Dobbs Ferry, New York, July 21, 
1899. He left no will. A number of his great speeches were funeral 
orations. The following extract from an address made on Decora- 
tion Day to the Soldiers at Indianapolis, Indiana, is regarded as the 
most touching example of imagery and vision to be found in Eng- 
lish literature : 

"The past rises before me hke a di'eam. Again we are in the 
great struggle for national life. We hear the sound of prepara- 
tion — the music of the boisterous drums, the silver voices of heroic 
bugles. We see thousands of assemblages, and hear the appeals 
of orators ; we see the pale cheeks of women and the flushed faces 
of men ; and in those assemblages we see all the dead whose dust 
we have covered with flowers. We lose sight of them no more. 
We are with them when they enUst in the great army of freedom. 
We see them part from those they love. Some are walking for the 
last time in quiet woody places with the maidens they adore. 
We hear the whisperings and the sweet vows of eternal love as 
they lingeringly part forever. Others are bending over cradles, 
kissing babies that are asleep. Some are receiving the blessings 
of old men. Some are parting who hold them and press them to 
their hearts again and again, and say nothing ; and some are talk- 
ing with wives, and endeavoring with brave words spoken in the 
old tones to drive from their hearts the awful fear. We see them 
part. We see the wife standing in the door, with the babe in her 
arms — standing in the sunUght sobbing ; at the turn of the road 
a hand waves — she answers by holding high in her loving hands 
the child. He is gone — and forever." 

Elegy on a Wife 

A tender and touching tribute to a deceased wife by Mr. Mitch- /- 
ell Kennerley, of New York, is contained in " Thysia, an Elegy " ; 
this beautiful little volume was issued about a year ago, and is one 
of the profoundest utterances of grief appearing in print in recent 
years. 

The lines below are taken from the poem "Alone," which is 
typical of the contents of the volume : 



212 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 



ALONE 

" The bier, the bell, the grave, silence, and night ; 

And you are laid in that cold ground, and gone. 
I hardly missed my love till now ; — O light 

Of my worn, weary life, dark, dark, alone, 
Blindly I feel your empty pillowed place ; 

O sacred head, luxuriant hair, and arm 
Through the dim hours linked in some dear embrace, 

Lips pressed to mine, and bosom beating warm. 
Breath, than the evening breath of heaven more sweet. 

Words faltering, passion-mixed, or sighed with prayer. 
Shy, soft caresses of the hand, to greet 

Or tell some passing need, or gentle care — 
O love, all these have been ; ah, woe is me. 
For you are gone, and these no more shall be. 



A MEMORY 

" I think the gentle soul of him 

Goes softly in some garden place. 
With the old smile time may not dim 
Upon his face. 

"He was a lover of the spring. 

With love that never quite forgets, 
Surely sees roses blooming 
And violets. 

" Now that his day of toil is through, 
I love to think he sits at ease. 
With some old volume that he knows 
Upon his knees. 

" Watching, perhaps, with quiet eyes 
The white clouds' drifting argosy ; 
Or twilight opening flower-wise 
On land and sea. 

" He who so loved companionship 

I may not think walks quite alone. 
Failing some friendly hand to slip 
Within his own. 

" Those whom he loved aforetime, stUl, 
I doubt not, bear him company ; 
I think that laughter yet may thrill 
Where he may be. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 213 

"A thought, a fancy — who may tell ? 
Yet I who ever pray it so 
Feel through my tears that all is well 
And this I know. 

" That God is gentle to His guest. 
And, therefore, may I gladly say, 
Feel through my tears 'tis for the best, 
On this sad day." 

Will of Margaket Haughekt 

The first monument erected to a woman in this country was that 
to the memory of Margaret Haughery. 

The monument stands in Margaret Place, not far from Canal 
Street in the City of New Orleans. The figure is that of a woman 
sitting in a rustic chair, dressed in a plain skirt and loose sack, 
with a simple shawl thrown over her shoulders, her arm encircling 
a child. 

Prior to her death and by her last will she gave to charitable 
institutions of the city of New Orleans about six hundred thousand 
dollars. She died in 1882. 

Her parents were Irish immigrants, who died of yellow fever. 
When quite young she married an Irishman of her own rank, who 
also died shortly after the marriage, and a year thereafter she lost 
her only child. The childless widow became a laundress in the 
St. Charles Hotel, and afterward entered into the bakery business, 
in which she was eminently successful. Her whole life was de- 
voted to charities. Catholic, Protestant, and Hebrew alike. She 
never learned to read or write, and could not distinguish one 
figure from another. Her will is signed with a mark. 

The fund for the monument was obtained by popular sub- 
scription. 

Her funeral sermon was preached by the Archbishop ; the busi- 
ness of the city was stopped, and a thousand orphans representing 
every asylum occupied seats of honor. 

Will of John Ericsson 

John Ericsson built the Monitor and other engines of destruc- 
tion, but the rattle of drays, the crowing of cocks, and the bark- 
ing of dogs were too much for his nerves. There is in existence 
a receipt for five dollars paid to one Charles Herbert for the re- 
moval of a dog and the agreement not to keep one on his premises 



214 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

for a period of one year. And it is also a part of history that he 
bought up his neighbors' chickens to secure the privilege of wring- 
ing their necks. 

Ericsson died March 8, 1889. His will is dated the 15th day 
of May, 1878. 

On November 7, 1884, he wrote to a friend in Sweden as follows : 

"They imagine in Sweden that I now possess a large fortune, 
not considering what it has cost me to be useful to my fellow-men. 
They do not know that for twenty years, during which time I have 
spent a million crowns, I have not worked for money." 

His fortune at the time of his death amounted to about one 
hundred thousand dollars, and his claims against the United 
States Government were required to make good the bequests in 
his will. These were distributed among his office assistants, 
female dependents, certain friends. Von Rosen, Adlersparre, the 
widow of his son Hjalmar, and his nephews and nieces. 

The instrument is of considerable length, and he describes him- 
self as John Ericsson, Civil Engineer, of the city of New York. 
In a codicil to his will, he mentions his share of the profits and 
emoluments that might arise from the manufacture and sale of 
his patents that might thereafter be granted by the United States 
for improveiq,ents in engines. These engines are described as 
two motive engines, designated as a solar engine and a sun motor. 

"Men of genius," said Dean Stanley over the grave of Charles 
Dickens, "are different from what we suppose them to be. They 
have greater pleasures and greater pains, greater affections and 
greater temptations than the generality of mankind, and they 
can never be altogether understood by their fellowmen." " Genius 
implies always a certain fanaticism of temperament," says James 
Russell Lowell. Mr. William Conant Church, in his life of Erics- 
son, concludes his work with these words : "Let us, in spite of his 
own doubts, accept the cheerful faith of his friend Adlersparre, 
that assigns to him a kindlier sphere beyond, where just apprecia- 
tion and intelligent sympathy may stimulate him to still higher 
efforts. So ends the story of John Ericsson, the son of Olaf, the 
son of Nils, the son of Eric, the son of Magnus Stadig, the miner." 

The Baltimore, an American warship, under command of Captain 
Schley, conveyed the remains of Ericsson to Sweden, flying on her 
foremast a white, square flag with five blue crosses, indicating that 
she was on King's business and must not be halted or interfered 
with on her journey. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 215 

Henry Swinbubne 

Henry Swinburne was an ecclesiastical lawyer, born at York, 
England, in 1560, and died in 1623. He was educated at Oxford. 
He wrote "A briefe Treatise of Testaments and last Willes," 
which was first published in London in 1590 and passed through 
many editions, the last one appearing in three volumes in 1803. 
The book is a rare one at this time, being one of the earliest written 
on the subject of wills. It was formerly much consulted and 
greatly valued. 

Swinburne was an entertaining writer ; he mentions the case of 
a monk, who came to a dying gentleman to make his will. The 
monk asked the gentleman if he would give such a manor and 
lordship to his monastery ; the gentleman answered yea : then 
if he would give such and such estates to such and such pious uses. 
The gentleman answered yea, again. The heir at law, observing 
the covetousness of the monk and that the estate would be taken 
from him, asked the testator if the monk was not a very knave, 
and he again answered yea: and this last answer having been 
reported to the Court, the instrument was adjudged no will. 

A Fmend of Charles Dickens - 

By his will, dated May 8th, 1868, Mr. H. F. Chorley, an 
English critic and author who died in 1872, bequeathed to his 
friend, Charles Dickens, of Gad's Hill place, £50 for a ring as a 
token from one greatly helped by him. An annuity of £200 he 
gaive to Mary, the eldest daughter of Dickens. 

A Place for Everything 

Mr. Justice Dean once remarked in a will case before him : "In 
what particular or inappropriate place an elderly lady, or, for that 
matter, a young one, will put articles or writings of value, is hard 
to even guess." 

Poverty and Riches 

Of the poor man, it has been written: "He may make his will 
upon his nail for anything he has to give." 



Bulwer says, "A will is wealth's last caprice.' 



216 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

The Legality of a Mass 

In England, masses are held to be superstitious and unlawful: 
in the United States, opinions are divided : in most of the States 
of the Union, bequests for the purposes of masses are valid; in 
others, however, they are looked upon as an attempt to create a 
private trust for the benefit of the deceased, without any one to 
enforce it, and consequently invalid. It may be said that the 
decisions holding the latter view are not very numerous. 

Religious Bequests Forbidden 

The State of Mississippi has a statute which absolutely forbids 
bequests, legacies and devises to rehgious and ecclesiastical bodies ; 
it reads : 

"Every legacy, gift, or bequest, of money or personal property, 
or of any interest, benefit or use therein, either direct, implied, 
or otherwise, contained in any last will and testament, or codicil, 
in favor of any religious or ecclesiastical corporation, sole or aggre- 
gate, or any religious or ecclesiastical society, or to any religious 
denomination or association, either for its own use or benefit, or 
for the purpose of being given or appropriated to charitable uses, 
shall be null and void, and the distributees shall take the property 
as though no such testamentary disposition had been made." 

Under the laws of the State of Ohio, testamentary gifts for be- 
nevolent, religious, educational or charitable purposes, as against 
issue, are void, unless the will be executed at least one year before 
the decease of the testator. 

In the District of Columbia, and in the states of Georgia, Idaho, 
Maryland, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, 
New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, are also to be found 
laws restricting gifts for religious or charitable purposes. 

In the Pocket of an Old Dress 

Some five years ago, a young girl about seventeen years old 
came to a lawyer in a Western city and asked him if he had 
drawn her grandmother's will. She was a kittenish little person, 
such as one would think lived on cakes and chocolate. When told 
it had been drawn, she notified the lawyer that her grandmother 
had just died of apoplexy. He then informed her that her grand- 
mother had called a few days before and taken the will with the 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 217 

avowed intention of cutting her off. The girl left, and the next 
day was back at the law office with the will, holding it tightly 
with both hands. She had found it in the pocket of an old dress ; 
it had not been changed, and the young woman receives the rev- 
enue on $100,000 during her life. She has since married three 
times, yet retains much life and romance in her composition. 
Each yule-tide she sends the lawyer a book; the last one was 
"Fanchon the Cricket," which treats of how to rear twins. May 
she grow old gracefully, bless her ! 

From Father to Son 

The late William E. Dodge, of New York, received by will from 
his grandfather a large sum to be invested and the income to be 
devoted to the spread of the Gospel and to promote the Redeemer's 
IGngdom on earth, and to be transmitted, unimpaired, to his 
descendants for the same purpose. By his will, Mr. Dodge be- 
queathed the sum to his eldest son to be by him invested and the 
income to be sacredly devoted, as indicated in the grandfather's 
will, and to be handed down to his descendants for a like purpose. 
With regard to charitable bequests, Mr. Dodge in his will said : 
"Acting from a judgment deliberately formed, based upon ob- 
servation of the inexpediency of testamentary bequests to religious 
and charitable objects, and believing it better and wiser to give 
liberally during life to such objects, I make no bequests of that 
character." 

Spoke from Experience 

The late Ruf us Hatch, of New York, in his will gave this ad- 
vice to his children ; "I do not wish my boys to go to college, but 
to receive a commercial education. Should any of them, however, 
wish to become lawyer, doctor or clergyman, then he may go to 
college. I most strongly warn my children not to use tobacco in 
any shape, or form : nor to touch, taste or use wine or liquor in 
any way. I earnestly desire that my children shall not gamble 
in any way for money, as their father has had experience sufficient 
to serve for all posterity." 

Will of Eugene Kellet 

In the will of the late Eugene Kelley, of New York, is found this 
beautiful sentiment : "I desire to record in this solemn instrument. 



218 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

the expression of my respect and esteem of my friend, J. D., and 
the honor in which for many years past I have held him. During 
our long association, his upright and manly character has ever been 
the same, and has so endeared him to me, that I could not rest 
satisfied to part from him without giving utterance to this testi- 
mony. His ample fortune would make it idle for me to attest my 
feeling toward him by a legacy, but I trust he will receive from 
my wife some personal article of mine which will remain to him 
a reminder of his friend's affection." With reference to charitable 
bequests, he adds, "I make this expression of preference in favor of 
Catholic and Hebrew institutions, solely because other denomina- 
tions are wealthier and better able to care for their poor." 

Samuel J. Randall died Poor 

The late Samuel J. Randall, an American political leader, left 
an estate valued at $789.74, which was not enough to pay the 
bills of the physicians who attended him in his last illness. Of 
this amount, $589.74 was due by the government for salary, leav- 
ing the total value of his property $200 at the time of his death. 
This is a remarkable showing for a man who spent thirty years 
of his life in the most responsible positions in the service of his 
country. 

Will of James Smithson 

The Smithsonian Institution in Washington was founded by 
James Smithson, an Englishman born in France. He was never in 
the United States, yet he left his fortune of half a million dollars 
to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian 
Institution, "an establishment for the increase and diffusion of 
knowledge among men," provided a certain nephew died without 
issue, legitimate or illegitimate. The disposition of the fund 
was for ten years debated in Congress, but finally the trust was 
accepted, and a board of regents was appointed. Our Weather 
Bureau is one of the creations of the Institution. 

Sailobs' Snug Habbor 

Robert Richard Randall, of New York, was the founder of the 
"Sailors' Snug Harbor", for the purpose of maintaining and sup- 
porting aged, decrepit and worn-out sailors. The will was at- 
tacked by the heirs, but was held valid by the United States 
Supreme Court. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS. AND FAMOUS WILLS 219 

Where to Invest 

CoUis P. Huntington, of New York, directed his executors to 
invest funds in bonds of the United States, or in bonds, stocks or 
securities of any state north of the Potomac and Ohio rivers, and 
east of the Mississippi. 

A Big Undertaking 

Amos R. Eno, late of Connecticut, made a bequest to the Cham- 
ber of Commerce, of New York, to provide for, and assist, such of 
its members as might be reduced to poverty, and their widows and 
children. 

The Term "Miss Nancy" 

The term "Miss Nancy" is applied to a man who is over-fastid- 
ious in his dress, or who has effeminate manners. The expression 
dates back to 1730. There was a celebrated actress known as 
Mrs. Anna Oldfield, and she was buried in Westminster Abbey : 
she was familiarly known as "Miss Nancy," and was noted for 
her extreme vanity and particularity in dress. Not only did she 
devote much thought to this during her life, but she was careful 
to provide for her proper attire after death, and, according to her 
instructions, she lay in state attired in elegant garments and the 
rarest of laces. She has had many eulogists ; one poet says : 

"Engaging Oldfield, who, with grace and ease. 
Could join the arts to ruin and to please." 

And the poet. Pope, also credits her with saying to her maid : 

"One would not sure be frightful when one's dead. 
And, — Betty, — give this cheek a little red." 

She died in 1730 in London, and left the royalty and half the town 
in tears. 

A Pew for a Sealskin Sack 

A certain lady, dying in New York, was entitled to the use for 
several years to come of a pew in Grace Church, New York ; she 
bequeatiied its use to a female relative Uving in Johnstown, Penn- 
sylvania ; the donee, being unable to use the pew, transferred the 
right to one who could use it, and received in return a sealskin 
sack which is reported to have been of great length and beauty, 
thus showing like John Gilpin's wife that, though on comfort bent, 
"she had a frugal mind." 



220 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Found in a Note-book 

Not known until recently to be in existence, because it was 
written faintly in pencil in an old pocket memorandum book, the 
will of Dr. John D. Potter, of Pittsburgh, who died July 22, 1906, 
was recently filed for probate by his brother, Robert J. Potter. 

The will disposes of $5000 personal property and real estate of 
unestimated value situated in Pittsburgh and East Deer township. 

It reads : 

" John D. Potter will, dated January 22, 1903. I bequeath to my 
mother all my property, both real and personal. I hereby appoint 
my brother, R. J. Potter, executor of my estate without bond. 
John D, Potter, M.D." 

Working with a Will 

"All lawyers like to take a rest. 
Like most of us, and still 
The average lawyer's happiest 
When working with a wUl." 

A Certain Pastor and Elder Debarred 

There has just been filed at Potts ville, Pennsylvania, the oddest 
instrument ever recorded in that city: the document conveys 
land for the erection of a new church, but stipulates that when the 
church is erected, a certain pastor shall be forever debarred from 
holding an oflBce or preaching a sermon in the building, and that 
a specified elder shall also be precluded from holding an office. 

Accuracy in Writing 

Few realize the value of accuracy in testamentary and other 
writings. The other day there appeared a decision by the Supreme 
Court of Missouri, upsetting a sale, where the judges gravely de- 
cided that "Mike" did not mean "Michael"; and one of the 
arguments in reaching this result was, that to have called 
Michael Angelo, "Mike" Angelo, would have been a sacrilege to 
the memory of the great painter. 

A Will op the Future 

If the late prevailing high prices for meat continue, Piich of 
New York suggests the following will : 

" In the name of God, Amen ! I, John Doe, in the City of Jersey, 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 221 

County of Hudson, State of New Jersey, being of sound mind and 
memory, do hereby make, publish, and declare this my Last Will 
and Testament in manner following, that is to say : 

" First, I bequeath to my eldest son, John, two juicy 'porterhouse 
steaks now in the custody of the Arctic Storage Company; 

" Second, I leave to my son, Wilfred, a leg of spring lamb now 
stored with the Freezem Warehouse; 

"Third, / leave to my daughter six pounds of veal chops locked in 
the refrigerator in the cellar beneath my residence, the combination for 
the lock of which is held by the Columbia Trust Company. It is also 
my desire that the executors have these chops frenched before turning 
same over to the legatee; 

"Fourth, I leave to my mother-in-law one haslet, which will be 
delivered to her upon application at either the Morris or Svnft beef 
houses. 

"Lastly, I hereby nominate Richard Roe, the wholesale butcher, 
Morris Moe, the beef-trust mngnate, and Paul Poe, meai manipu- 
lator, to be executors of this my last will and testament, hereby revok- 
ing all former wills by me made. 

" In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal, the 
eighth day of May in the year of our Lord, Nineteen Hundred and 
Ten. 

"F. p. Pitzer." 
[Seal] 

Doing his Duty 

The farmer marched into the little grocer's shop with a firm step. 
"I want that tub of butter," he said, "and that lot of sugar, and all 
that other stuflp." 

"Good gracious!" said the widow who kept the shop. "What- 
ever do you want with all them goods ? " 

"I dunno," said the farmer, scratching his head; "but, you 
see, I'm the executor of your husband's will, and the lawyers told 
me I was to carry out the provisions." 

Major Andre's Request op Washington 

" Tappan, the 1st October, 1780. 

"Sir. 

" Buoy'd above the Terror of Death by the Consciousness of a 
Life devoted to honorable pursuits and stained with no Action that 



222 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

can give me Remorse, I trust the request I make to your Excellency 
at this serious period and which is to soften my last moments will 
not be rejected. 

" Sympathy towards a Soldier will surely induce Your Excellency 
and a military Tribunal to adapt the mode of my death to the feel- 
ings of a Man of honour. 

" Let me hope Sir, that if aught in my character impresses you 
with Esteem towards me, if aught in my misfortunes marks me as 
the victim of policy and not of resentment, I shall experience the 
operation of these Feelings in your Breast by being informed that I 
am not to die on a Gibbet. 
" I have the honour to be 

" Your Excellency's 
" Most obedient and 
" most humble Servant 
" John Andhe 

" Ad. Gen. to the Brit : :Army. 
" His Excellency 

" General Washington 
" &ca. &ca. &ca." 

President McKinlet's Last Peateb 

The last words of great men seem always to possess a peculiar 
value in the minds of the people; the following is a touching 
example : 

In the afternoon of his last day on earth the President began to 
realize that his life was slipping away, and that the efforts of science 
could not save him. He asked Dr. Rixey to bring the surgeons in. 
One by one the surgeons entered and approached the bedside. 
When they gathered about him, the President opened his eyes and 
said: 

"It is useless, gentlemen ; I think we ought to have prayer." 

The dying man crossed his hands on his breast and half closed 
his eyes. There was a beautiful smile on his countenance. The 
surgeons bowed their heads. Tears streamed from the eyes of the 
white-clad nurses on either side of the bed. The yellow radiance of 
the sun shone softly in the room. 

"Our Father which art in Heaven,"said the President in a clear, 
steady voice. 

The lips of the surgeons moved. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 223 

"Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kmgdom come. Thy will be 
done—" 

The sobbing of a nurse disturbed the still air. The President 
opened his eyes and closed them again. 

"Thy will be done in earth as it is in Heaven." 

A long sigh. The sands of life were running swiftly. The sun- 
light died out ; the raindrops dashed against the windows. 

" Give us this day our daily bread ; and forgive us our debts as we 
forgive our debtors : and lead us not into temptation, but deliver 
us from evil." 

Another silence. The surgeons looked at the dying face and the 
friendly lips. 

"For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever. 
Amen." 

"Amen," whispered the surgeons. 

Last Words of Count Leo Toistoi 

It was disclosed to the observant eye of Washington Irving that 
when the noble elk finds himself mortally wounded, he leaves his 
companions, and turning aside, seeks some out-of-the-way place to 
die ; and his incomparable pen depicts such a scene in his "Tour of 
the Prairies," a book which is ever a delight to lovers of nature and 
outdoor life; and so when death was about to overtake him did 
Tolstoi, one of the Masters of the Old World, attempt to withdraw 
from mankind and quietly disappear, dying at a little railway 
station in Russia. 

His valuable manuscripts passed by his last will to his daughter : 
by another testament, written at the Optina Monastery on Novem- 
ber 11, 1910, a few days before his death, he left an address en- 
titled "Effective Means." It says : 

"I am naturally anxious to do all I can against evil, which tor- 
tures the best spirits of our time. 

"I think the present effective war agaiost capital punishment 
does not need forcing ; there is no need for an expression of indigna- 
tion against its immorality, cruelty and absurdity ; every sincere, 
thinking person, everybody knowing from youth the sixth com- 
mandment, needs no explanation of its absurdity and immorality ; 
there is no need for descriptions of the horrors of executions, as 
they only affect hangmen, so men will more unwillingly become 
executioners and governments wiU be obliged to compensate them 
more dearly for their services. 



224 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Knowledge Banishes Delusions 

"Therefore, I think that neither the expression of indignation 
against the murder of our fellow-men, nor the suggestion of its 
horrors, is mainly needed ; but something totally different. 

"As Kant well says, there are delusions which cannot be dis- 
proved, and we must communicate to the deluded mind knowledge 
which will enUghten, and then the delusions will vanish by them- 
selves. 

" What knowledge need we communicate to the deluded human 
mind regarding the indispensableness, usefulness or justice of capital 
punishment in order that said delusion may destroy itself. 

"Such knowledge in my opinion is this : The knowledge of what 
is man, what his surrounding world, what his destiny; hence, 
what man can and must do, and principally what he cannot and 
must not do. 

"Therefore, we should oppose capital punishment by inculcating 
this knowledge to all men, especially to hangmen's managers and 
sympathizers who wrongfully think they are maintaining their posi- 
tion, thanks only to capital punishment. 

"I know this is not an easy task. The employers and approvers 
of hangmen, with the instinct of self-preservation, feel tiiat this 
knowledge will make impossible the maintenance of the position 
which they occupy ; hence not only will they themselves not adopt 
it, but by all means in their power, by violence, deceit, lies and cruelty, . 
they will try to hide from the people this knowledge, distorting 
it and exposing its disseminators to all kinds of privations and 
suffering. 

"Therefore, if we readily wish to destroy the delusion of capital 
punishment, and if we possess the knowledge which destroys this 
delusion, let us, in spite of all menaces, deprivations and sufferings, 
teach the people this knowledge, because it is solely the effective 
means in the fight. 

"Leo Tolstoi. 
"Optina Monastery, November 11, 1910." 

"Remember Crittenden" 

If not a will, the last writing of William Logan Crittenden carried 
with it a wealth of sentiment and affection ; he was a member of the 
celebrated Kentucky family, and a graduate of West Point. In 
the year 1851, he joined General Narcisso Lopez, who sought vol- 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 225 

unteers in the United States to aid in the struggle then going on 
ioT Cuban independence. The expedition had intended to land at 
some remote part of the island of Cuba, but a heavy gale drove the 
vessel to a small port barely twenty miles from the city of Havana. 
Crittenden and his party were captured: cruelly bound, he was 
taken to Havana and imprisoned in the grim Atares Castle; on 
the following day, he and his companions were shot. Shortly 
before his death, he was permitted to pen the following pathetic 
lines to a friend: "This is an incoherent letter, but the circum- 
stances must excuse it. My hands are swollen to double their 
natural thickness, resulting from having been too tightly corded 
during the last eighteen hours. Write John (his brother), and let 
him write to my mother. I am afraid that the news will break her 
heart. My heart beats warmly for her now. Farewell. My love 
to all my friends." When one of the Kentucky regiments was in 
action during the Spanish-American War, their battle-cry was, 
"Remember Crittenden." At Santiago, Cuba, there is placed a 
commemorative tablet, which serves to recall another ill-fated 
attempt to aid in a Cuban insurrection, that of 1873. The Vir- 
ginius, a steamer carrying the American flag, was captured by a 
■Spanish man-of-war, the officers, crew and passengers were shot : 
the tablet reads: "Thou who passest this place, imcover thyself. 
This spot is consecrated earth. For thirty years it has been 
blessed with the blood of patriots immolated by tyranny." 

Confucius 

History does not record that the great Chinese philosopher and 
sage made a testamentary disposition of his worldly effects ; but we 
find that just before his death in 478 b.c, with his hands behind his 
back, dragging his staff, he moved about his door reciting : 

"The great mountain must crumble. 
The strong beam must break. 
The wise man must wither away like a plant." 

The grave of Confucius is in Kimg Cemetery near the city of 
IQuh-Fow: a magnificent gate opens into a beautiful avenue 
which leads to his tomb, this avenue being shaded by cypresses and 
other fine old trees : the inscription on his tomb reads : 

"The most sagely ancient Teacher, 
The all-accomplished, all-informed King." 

The great temple erected here in his honor is a splendid edifice. 



226 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Confucius enunciated the Golden Rule five hundred years before 
Christ, and although negatively put, it is to all intents and pur- 
, poses the same as given by the Master : 

"What ye would not, that others should do unto you, do ye 
not unto them." 

Undertaker paid in Advance 

The wiU of Ehjah Bell was probated at Columbus, Ohio, oa 
October 5, 1910. It disposes of an estate of twenty thousand 
dollars between his widow, children and grandchildren. In a 
codicil, he states that no changes have been made in his will, and 
that if any were found on opening that document, the court was to 
declare the instrument a forgery. 

He also declared that he had paid the undertaker for his buriaU 
the sum of one himdred and ninety-eight dollars ; the items being, 
a casket one hundred and forty dollars, a vault fifty dollars, and 
a shroud eight dollars. 

Sings at his Own Funeral 

William Faxon died recently at Ovid, Michigan. When the 
mourners had gathered at the Faxon home, in which lay his open, 
coffin, they were surprised to hear his voice in an anthem from 
behind a screen of flowers and palms. 

Sometime before his death, Faxon conceived the idea of pre,- 
serving his own voice by means of the phonograph, to be a part 
of the service when he died. He was a well-known choir singer,, 
and possessed a rich tenor voice. 

Heavenly Securities 

An inventory recently filed in the County Court at Nashville, 
Tennessee, is probably the most unusual instrument of its kind 
ever admitted to probate. The document is signed by Mrs. Corra 
W. Harris, the author of a book of high merit, "A Circuit Rider's 
Wife"; her husband, the Reverend Lundy H. Harris, is reported 
to have died by his own hand ; he is said to have been the real 
circuit rider of the story ; his wife qualified as his administratrix. 
The inventory given below is embodied in a letter addressed to 
the Clerk of the County Court, which had jurisdiction of the 
estate of the deceased minister; it is a pathetic and touching 
tribute from an able pen. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 227 

"Mb. W. F. Hunt, City. 

" Dear Sie : 

" I have your card saying that if I do not furnish you an Inven- 
tory of the estate of Lundy H. Harris, of which I was appointed 
administratrix, within ten days from receipt of this notice, you 
will proceed as the law directs. 

" I did not know it was my duty to furnish such an inventory 
and now you demand it I do not know how to do it. If the one 
I send you is not in proper form to be recorded upon your books, 
I enclose postage and request you to let me know wherein I have 
failed. 

"It is not with the intention of showing an egregious senti- 
mentality that I say I find it impossible to give you a complete 
and satisfactory inventory of the estate of Lundy H. Harris. The 
part that I give is so small that it is insignificant and misleading. 

"At the time of his death he had $2.35 in his purse, $116.00 in 
the Union Bank & Trust Company of this city, about four hundred 
books, and the coffin in which he was buried, which cost $85.00. 

"The major part of his estate was invested in heavenly securities, 
the values of which have been variously declared in this world, 
and highly taxed by the various churches, but never realized. He 
invested every year not less (usually more) than $1200. in charity, 
so secretly, so inoffensively and so honestly that he was never 
suspected of being a philanthropist, and never praised for his 
generosity. He pensioned an old outcast woman in Barton 
County, an old soldier in Nashville ; he sent two little negro boys 
to school and supported for three years a family of five who could 
not support themselves. He contributed anonymously to every 
charity in Nashville, every old maid interested in a 'benevolent' 
object received his aid, every child he knew exacted and received 
penny tolls from his tenderness. He supported the heart of every 
man who confided in him with encouragement and affection. He 
literally did forgive his enemies and suffered martyrdom on Sept. 
18th, 1910, after enduring three years of persecution without com- 
plaint. He considered himself one of the Chief of Survivors and 
was ever recognized as one of the largest bondholders in Heaven. 

"You can see how large this estate was and how difficult it 
would be to compute its value so as to furnish you the inventory 
you require for record on your books. I have given you faithfully 
such items as have come within my knowledge. 

" Sincerely yours, 
" CoHBA W. Habbis, Admx." 



228 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

An Unttsttai. Condition 

On April 15, 1910, there was an announcement in the news- 
papers of how a wealthy and well-known lady in St. Louis died, 
leaving her entire fortune to her husband ; the remainder to their 
children; but in the event he remarries, the estate to pass im- 
mediately to their children. This is the second instance we have 
known of such a provision in a will. A learned legal writer of 
San Francisco states in his work on wills that he had never met 
"with such an instance. 

Will of Earl of Pembroke 

The will of William, Earl of Pembroke, written July 27, 1469, 
among other clauses, says : " . . . And wyfe ye remember your 
promise to me to take the ordre of wydowhood as ye may be 
the better mastre of your owne to performe my wylle. . . ." And 
in a codicil he adds: "... I will that Maud my daughter be 
wedded to the Lord Henry of Richmond; Ann to Lord Powys; 
and Jane to Edmimd Malafaul." 

To PAT National Debts 

In the year 1784 there was probated in England, the last will 
and testament of one, M. Fortune Ricard, a teacher of arith- 
metic. It seems that in his eighth year, his grandparent had 
given him a small sum of money, and directed him to add the 
interest' to the principal each year, and at his death to employ 
the result in good works for the repose of their souls. The testa- 
tor was in his seventy-first year at the time of his death. He 
divided the fund into five parts. At the end of one hundred 
years, one part was to be given for the best theological disserta- 
tion proving the lawfulness of putting money out at interest. 
At the end of two himdred years, the second part was to be ex- 
pended for prizes for distinguished, virtuous actions, literature 
and other purposes. At the end of three hxmdred years, the 
third part was to be used in establishing five hundred patriotic 
banks in France, lending money without interest. At the end of 
four hundred years, the fourth part was to be expended in the 
building of a hundred towns to accommodate the people of France. 
At the end of five hundred years, the fifth part was to be used 
in paying off the national debts of England and France. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 229 

The will concludes with a hope for the success of these enter- 
prises, above all, that his example would enkindle the emulation 
of patriots, princes and pubKc bodies, and cause them to give 
attention to this new and most powerful and invaluable means of 
serving posterity. 

The Nobel Phizes 

Alfred Bernard Nobel, a Swedish inventor and philanthropist, 
was born at Stockholm in 1833, and died in 1896. He 'was a 
student of the distinguished John Ericsson: he was educated in 
St. Petersbiurg, and studied mechanical engineering in the United 
States : he was granted patents by the United States on nitro- 
glycerin and dynamite : his patents were very numerous, there 
being filed in Great Britain one hundred and twenty-nine. In 
1875, he controlled fifteen dynamite factories in different parts of 
the world. He is best known by his will in which he founded the 
Nobel Prize Fund of $9,200,000, reduced by taxation to $8,400,000, 
the interest on which is annually divided into five equal parts, 
and awarded as prizes to the person who shall have made, (1) the 
most important invention or discovery in the domain of physics, 
(2) in chemistry, (3) in physiology or medicine, (4) who shall have 
produced in the field of literature the most distinguished work 
of an idealistic tendency, and, (5) who shall have most or best 
promoted the interest of universal peace. 

The first four prizes are awarded by the academies of Sweden, 
and the fifth by the Norwegian Storthing (Parliament). The 
value of each prize is about $38,000; the right to make nomi- 
nations is bestowed upon members of corresponding academies 
of other countries, professors holding proper chairs in Scandi- 
navian and foreign universities, recipients of Nobel prizes, and 
other persons of distinction. The plan of award is that the 
prizes shall go to those persons who shall have contributed most 
materially to benefit mankind during the year immediately pre- 
ceding. The stipulation that the award should be for achieve- 
ments of the preceding year has been, to a large extent, disre- 
garded, and in many instances the award is the restilt of the life 
work of the recipient. 

Spiteful Wills 

Mr. Russell, in his work, "Seeing and Hearing," says: 
"Wills which, by rehearsing and revoking previous bequests, 
mortify the survivors when the testator is no longer in a position 



230 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

to do so viva voce, form a very curious branch of the subject. 
Lord Kew was a very wealthy peer of strict principles and pecul- 
iarly acrid temper, and, having no wife or children to annoy, he 
'took it out,' as the saying is, on his brothers, nephews, and 
other expectant kinsfolk. One gem from his collection I recall, 
in some such words as these : 'By a previous will I had left fifty 
thousand pounds to my brother John; but, as he has sent his 
son to Oxford instead of Cambridge, contrary to my expressed 
wish, I reduce the legacy to five hundred pounds.' May the 
earth he light on that benevolent old despot ! " 

A Jilted Lover's Will 

Dr. Forbes (Benignus) Winslow, though of New England 
stock, was born in London. He studied medicine in New York 
and afterward at the Royal College of Surgeons. He made a 
specialty of the treatment of insanity after locating in London, 
and became noted as an alienist and was at one time President 
of the Medical Society of London. He reports the following 
very singular will : 

"A certain individual, who having been crossed in love, con- 
cluded to end an unhappy and disappointing life, ordered his 
body to be boiled down, and all the fat to be extracted therefrom 
to be used in making a candle, which was to be presented to the 
object of his affections, together with a letter containing his 
adieus and expressions of undying love. The time chosen for the 
delivery of the candle and the letter was at night, in order that 
the lady might read the touching lines by this veritable 'Corpse 
Candle.' " The will, the learned Dr. Winslow tells us, was literally 
carried out. 

Will of Frederic Gebhard 

Frederic Gebhard, once the favorite of the stage and of society, 
with an income of $100,000 a year, a private car, and blooded 
horses and dogs, left an estate valued at less than $10,000. His 
will, making no mention of his widow, was filed September 21st, 
1910, in the Surrogate's oflSce of New York. 

Gebhard died at Garden City on September 8th last. His will 
provides that his entire estate shall be given to his sister, Mrs. 
Mary Isabel Neilson, who is the mother-in-law of Reginald Van- 
derbilt. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 231 

The will is dated June 21, 1905, some time prior to his marriage 
to his last wife, formerly Marie Wilson, one of the original Floro- 
■dora Sextette girls. They were wedded early in 1906, but were 
reported to have separated. Mrs. Gebhard returned to him some 
time before he died. 

Gebhard attracted public attention over twenty years ago as an 
admirer of Lily Langtry, who came to this country as a stage 
beauty. Gebhard accompanied her about the country, and pur- 
chased a ranch adjoining her ranch in California. Later she re- 
tiuTied to England to become Mrs. Hugo de Bathe, and Gebhard 
"wedded Lulu Morris. She divorced him, and became Mrs. Henry 
dlews, Jr. 

In Colonial Days 

The will of William Farrar of colonial times, related to many 
St. Louisans, was probated in 1677 in Henrico County, Virginia. 
This document and the inventory portray the customs of those 
days. There passed imder this will, "one Indian boy named 
Will, and another named Jack" ; there is a recital that the "Hoggs 
being out and uncertain, and one young mare, are left undivided." 
The valuations are in tobacco, the Indian boys being worth 2800 
poimds each. This is rather a novel association of the Indian 
"with tobacco. 

Five Dkawehs to be Opened 

A few years ago, there died a wealthy English gentleman who 
directed that the five drawers in his desk be opened on the five 
consecutive anniversaries of his death. That was all ; not a word 
about the disposition of his large fortune. When the fourth 
drawer was reached, a sealed letter contained this message : "Have 
faith and hope, and you will attain unto the fruition of all your 
desires." When on the fifth anniversary the last drawer was 
opened, a properly executed will was found, leaving the property 
to those who had expected it. 

Anticipating Mabriaqe 

There is a strong tendency on the part of men to draw up their 
wills in favor of the ladies to whom they are affianced. By thus 
anticipating what they would probably do after marriage, they 
not only take duty by the forelock, so to speak, but reap a present 
reward in the increased ardor of the adored ones. 



232 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

DrFFictTLT Task fob the Judge 

The will of Mrs. Sophia Striewe, of St. Louis, was filed in the 
Probate Covtrt in November, 1910. Six-fourteenths of the residu- 
ary part of her estate, amounting to seven thousand dollars, it 
was directed should go the one who did the most for her during 
her last days. The Probate Judge will probably decline to pass on 
so delicate a matter. 

Dental Safegttakds 

Quite recently, a Boston philanthropist provided a fund by 
means of which the school children of that city were insured the 
proper care of their teeth. Dental statistics show that this act 
must be considered as far more worthy than any gift of a like 
nature in the field of philanthropy for many years ; it cannot be 
doubted that the state of the health depends to a very large 
degree on the condition of the teeth, and actual figures show that 
only one child in thirty-five has sound teeth, and much of the 
sickness of the country can be thus accounted for in this impair- 
ment of one of nature's equipments. 

What Commodore Vanderbilt said 

When Commodore VanderbUt was on his death-bed, he was 
visited by his nephew, Samuel Barton. "Sammy," he said, 
"I've been thinking all day about Alexander Stewart's will. I 
can't explain it. I can't imderstand how the greatest merchant 
in this country, who began with nothing and made a fortune of 
millions, who was always clear-headed in business matters — how 
was it possible for a man of that kind to make such an utter damn, 
fool of himself when he came to write his will ? " 

" One Clover Blossom " 

A poetic nature and a love for clover blossoms are at once 
shown by a Michigan testator who devised land to his native 
village for park purposes; the only rental being "one clover 
blossom per annum," which is to be picked on the premises and 
delivered to his heirs or descendants. No provision seems ta 
have been made for substitute rental in the event of a failure of 
the clover crop. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 233 

"One Red Rose in the Month of June" 

Baron Heinrich Wilhelm Stiegel was born in Germany near 
Manheim, Baden, of a noble and wealthy family, in 1730. Before 
he was twenty years of age, he ventured into the New World 
with a fortune of $200,000: he located in Lancaster County, 
Pennsylvania, after having built a home in Philadelphia. He 
was a man of great note, establishing iron and glass works and 
other industries, and built an elegant mansion at Manheim, in 
Lancaster County ; the old Lutheran Church in Manheim, built 
in 1770, was located on groimd now occupied by a modern church 
of the same denomination, built in 1891. Stiegel, by will or an 
instriunent of kindred nature, gave the lot on which the church 
stands, for a consideration of five shillings and "the annual rental 
of one red rose ia the month of June forever." The payment of 
the rose occurs on the first Sunday in June, and is an annual 
ceremony of great interest; the church oflBcers bear the rose to 
the altar on a costly tray, and a descendant of the testator comes 
forward at the request of the minister to receive it. An extended 
account of Stiegel appears in the proceedings of the Lancaster 
Coimty Historical Association for September 4th, 1896. 

Desired Bubial on Motjntains 

Robert Louis Stevenson, in his directions for his burial, selected 
the apex of a mountain in the Samoan Islands ; it was necessary 
to employ a great many natives to clear the way to the mountain 
top. There, in the midst of singing birds, the blooming of flowers, 
and the tonic of the sea breeze, one may read his epitaph, written 
by himself, but for another : 

"Under the wide and starry sky. 
Dig my grave and let me lie. 
Glad did I live and gladly die. 
And I laid me down with a will. 

"This be the verse you grave for me. 
Here he lies where he longed to be. 
Home is the sailor, home from the sea. 
And the hunter home from the hill." 



Cecil John Rhodes admired the grandeur of the Matoppo Hills 
in Rhodesia, and directed in his will that he be buried there in 



234 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

a square to be cut out of the rock on the top of a hill at a point 
which commanded a magnificent view of the surrounding country. 



Helen Hunt Jackson, the authoress, was buried at her direction, 
on Cheyenne Mountain, near the top of Seven Falls, a short dis- 
tance from Colorado Springs, Colorado; she desired this for her 
last resting place, on account of her love for the surroundings, 
which are of rare beauty, and which no doubt gave her inspira- 
tion for her literary productions. 



Thomas Jefferson, his wife and two daughters are buried near 
the crest of Monticello, "Little Mountain." 

Monticello, the home of Jefferson, is beautifully situated, and 
commands a view of the town of Charlottesville, the University 
of Virginia, and the neighboring country. It has long been known 
as one of the most picturesque spots in the South. For many 
years, a monument bearing the following inscription from his own 
pen marked Jefferson's grave : 

HERE WAS BURIED 

THOMAS JEFFERSON 

AUTHOR 

OF THE DECLARATION OP 

AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE 

OF 

THE STATUTE OF VIRGINIA 

FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM, AND 

FATHER OF THE UNIVERSITY 

OF VIRGINIA 

BORN APRIL 2D 

1743 O.S. 

DIED [JULY 4] 

[1826] 

The old monument was removed about fifteen years ago, and 
now stands on the campus of the University of Missouri, at 
Columbia, Missouri, and a more imposing one was erected in its 
place. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 235 

No Trips to Europe 

Mr. Jefferson G. James, an old and prominent citizen of San 
Francisco, died in May, 1910 ; he was a pioneer cattle dealer and 
politician ; he left a large estate to be disposed of under his will, 
which was written with his own hand and is an eccentric docu- 
ment. One provision in the nature of advice to the distributees 
reads as follows : 

"Don't be mean. Don't pay my employes more than is being 
paid them now. No outside speculations. No expensive trips 
to Europe. Spend your money in this country. Buy or build 
nice residences and Uve and enjoy yourselves among people you 
know. The dividends to the small stockholders will assist in the 
support of a family." 

In a codicil, he recurs to the subject of European travel, which 
seems to have been a pet aversion; he again says, "No trips to 
Europe." 

Rights of an Uxoricide Denied 

An appeal from a decision of Vice-Chancellor Malins, of Lon- 
don, questioning the rights of M. de Tourville to inherit under 
Ms wife's will, was decided against him. 

M. de Tourville was found guilty of murdering his wife by 
:flinging her down a precipice while traveUing with her near 
Botzen, Austria, in July, 1876. The marriage took place in 
November, 1875, and the lady was a widow possessed of large 
property. The day after the marriage she made a wiU, leaving 
her property to trustees for the benefit of her children, should 
there be any, but in default of such, she gave the whole to her 
husband, the husband being cognizant of this arrangement, and 
thereby, as alleged by the wife's relations, instigated to commit 
the crime of which he was subsequently convicted and sentenced 
to death by the Austrian courts. Having appealed, however, his 
sentence was commuted to imprisonment for eighteen years. 

Under these circumstances, the wife's relations claimed a 
declaration that De Tourville was incapable of taking any interest 
under his wife's will, and argued that the property belonged to 
Madame de Tourville's next of kin. 

The Vice-Chancellor refused the application for a commis- 
sion, on the ground that the question of law should first be deter- 
mined whether, in his position, De Tourville should lose the 



236 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

benefits conferred on him by the will, and directed an amend- 
ment of the pleadings for that purpose. 

The case was further compUcated by the fact that, previous to 
his conviction, De Tourville had (not perhaps so cleverly as he 
thought) assigned his interest under the will to another person. 

The Master of the Rolls and Lords Justices James and Bram- 
well, however, reversed the decision of the Vice-Chancellor, and 
granted the application for a commission, the Master of the Rolls 
remarking that he was at a loss to understand why the applica- 
tion should have been refused. 

He answered the Questions 

About the year 1875, "Scotch" John Wilson, a native of Scot- 
land, then living near Tecumseh, Nebraska, drove from his home 
his son, John Wilson, and told him never to darken the doors 
again. The son had graduated from an Iowa law school and 
wanted to practise law; the father wanted the son to stay on 
the farm; they disagreed and this resulted in the son's being 
driven from home. He rode away on a circus train and never 
saw his parents again. 

A few years ago, the elder Wilson died, leaving an estate valued 
at thirty thousand dollars. By his will, he directed that this 
estate be turned over to any claimant who might appear and say 
he was the missing son, and who could answer thirty questions. 
These thirty questions dealt largely with family history, dates, 
and other matters which were peculiarly within the knowledge of 
the son. 

The son appeared, after an absence of thirty-five years, and 
answering satisfactorily the thirty questions before the Probate 
Court, was awarded the estate. After the decision in his favor, 
he began crying and remarked, "I would have preferred to have 
seen my mother rather than to take this money." 

From under the Sea 

On April 15th, 1910, while manoeuvering off Kura in Hiroshima 
Bay, Submarine No. 6 of the Royal Japanese Navy was simk : 
her commander. Lieutenant Saguma, and fourteen men were lost. 
When the vessel was raised two days after the catastrophe, a 
document written by him was discovered; it is a remarkable 
instrument and may be regarded as a testamentary log. This 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 237 

paper, written when the commander was slowly choking to death 
from the gases generated as the submarine lay helpless at the 
bottom of the sea, is a striking instance of the spirit of silent 
sacrifice and immolation found in the Japanese character. It 
reads as follows : 

"I have no excuse or apology for having sunk His Majesty's 
No. 6 submarine by my carelessness, but the crew of the boat 
bravely and calmly discharged their duties. We now die for the 
sake of our country, but we regret that the future development 
of submarines will receive a heavy blow as the result of this dis- 
aster. It is, therefore, my hope that you will engage in deeper 
study of the submarine without any misapprehension of disasters. 
If you do this, we shall feel no regret at our deaths. We were 
making a gasoline dive when the submarine sank lower than was 
intended, and we tried to close the sluice valve, when the chain 
unfortimately snapped. I therefore closed the valve with my 
own hands, but it was too late to avert disaster, and the boat 
sank with a list of 25 degrees. The boat sank at 10 a.m., and it 
is now 11.45 a.m. The depth of the water is about ten fathoms. 
I always expect death when away from home. My will is there- 
fore prepared and in the locker, and I hope Mr. Taguchi will send 
it with this paper to my father." 

There were numerous other requests, one to the Emperor, an 
earnest appeal to supply the means of livelihood to the poor 
families of the crew. 



Weitten bt Entombed Minebs 

In November, 1909, over three hundred miners were entombed 
for a period of ten days in a mine at Cherry, near Spring Valley, 
Ilhnois. The living were imprisoned with the dead. At the end 
of ten days, twenty-two miners were rescued; those saved had 
kept themselves free from fatal gas by building a barricade. 
Saved from death by suffocation, they were threatened with 
death by thirst. Two of these men, self-constituted leaders, 
gave orders for the protection of the community; they con- 
ducted religious services and cared for the sick and exhausted, 
and their directions were strictly carried out. 

Two of the miners wrote wills while so imprisoned; they are 
pathetic documents. The writer of the following will, Joe Pegati, 
was rescued : 



238 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

"This is the 4th day that we have been down here. That's 
what I think, but our watches stopped. I am writing this in the 
dark because we have been eating the wax from our safety lamps. 
I also have eaten a plug of tobacco, some bark and some of my 
shoe. I could only chew it. I hope you can read this. I am not 
afraid to die. Holy Virgin, have mercy on me. 

"I think my time has come. You know what my property is. 
We worked for it together and it is all yom-s. This is my will, 
and you must keep it. You have been a good wife. May the 
Holy Virgin guard you. I hope this reaches you some time, and 
you can read it. It has been very quiet down here and I wonder 
what has become of our comrades. 

"Good-by until heaven shall bring us together. 

"Joe Pegati." 

The writer of the second will, Samuel D. Howard, aged twenty- 
one, died in the mine ; his will in part is in these words : 

"Alive at 10.30 o'clock yet. Sam D. Howard and Brother 
Alfred is with me yet. A good many dead mules and men. I 
tried to save some, but came almost losing myself. If I am 
dead give my diamond ring to Mamie Robinson. The ring is 
coming to the Post Office. Henry can have the ring I have in 
my good clothes. The only thing I regret is that my brother 
could not help mother after I am dead and gone. 



"To keep me from thinking I thought I would write these few 
lines. There is rock falling all over. We have our buckets full 
of water, seep water, and we drink it and bathe our heads in it. 



"Seven fifty o'clock in the morning. This is Sunday. There 
is no air. We have fanned ourselves with the lids of our buckets. 
Twenty five after 9 and black damp coming both ways. Twenty 
five after 10 we gave up all hope. We have done all we could. 
The fan had better start above soon. Twenty five after 10 a.m. 
Sunday. We are still alive, the only hope is the fan. 

"I think I won't have strength to write pretty soon. Fifteen 
after 12 o'clock Sunday. If they can't give us air, we will make 
fans ourselves. We take turns at the fan. We have three of 
them going. Twenty seven to 3 p.m. and the black damp is com- 
ing in on us. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 239 

"Only for the fans we would be dead. Eleven to 4 p.m. dying 
for want of air. We have six fans moving. One after another 
fifteen feet apart. We all had to come back. We can't move 
front or backward. We can stand it with our fans until Monday 
morning. 

"Fifteen after 2 a.m. Monday. Am still alive. We are cold, 
hungry, weak, sick and everythiog else. Alfred Howard is still 
alive. 9.15 a.m. 

"Monday morning, still breathing. Something better must 
turn up or we will soon be gone. Eleven fifteen a.m. still alive 
at this time. Sixteen to 1 p.m. Monday, we are still getting weak, 
Alfred Howard as well as the rest of us." 

The Town Cbier 

Doctor Roland Williams was an author of considerable distinc- 
tion ; he was, at one time, professor in the College of St. David's, 
Lampeter, South Wales, but had diflSculty with the faculty of 
that institution. He exiled himself to a neighboring town, where 
he died, leaving in his will fifty pounds to the town of Lampeter, 
one-third of the income of which is perpetually to be given to 
the town crier, "for making proclamation once a year, about 
midsummer, on a market day, that he, Roland Williams, never 
consented to the election of George Lewellin to a scholarship in 
this college, but in this and other things he was foully slandered 
by men in high places ; because he loved righteousness and hated 
iniquity; therefore, he died in exile; but while unjust men per- 
mitted this, he both kept the needy student by his right, and 
defended the alms of the altar of God." 

Cubll's Collection op Wills 

A very curious and now rare collection of wills was made about 
1720, by Edmund Curll, who, according to Pope and Swift, pos- 
sessed himself surreptitiously of these as well as of many anec- 
dotes of the private lives of some of his contemporary celebrities, 
and published them anonymously, garbling and altering in a 
scurrilous manner many of the facts he had obtained, so that 
Arbuthnot observed to Swift that "Curll was one of the new 
terrors of death ;" and the author of "The Man of Taste" wrote : 

" Long live old Curll ! he ne'er to publish fears. 
The verses, speeches, and last wills of Peers." 



240 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Besides the memoirs and will of "Alderman John Barber," of 
"Peter Le Neve, Esq., Norroy King-at-Arms," and that of "An- 
thony Collins, Esq.," he issued thirty-one pamphlets containing 
the "Life, Correspondence, and last Will and Testament" of each 
of the following worthies. The list of them is to be found on the 
last leaf of the said life of Alderman Barber, and is as follows : 

" 1. Archbishop Tillotson. 18. Dr. RadcUffe. 

2. Bishop Atterbuiy (Dean of 19. Dr. Williams. 

Ch. Ch.). 20. Dr. South (2 vols., with his 

3. Bishop Barnes. posthumous works). 

4. Bishop Curll. 21. Dr. Hickes. 

5. Earl of Halifax. 22. Dr. Burnet (of theCharter- 

6. Lord Carpenter. house). 

7. Lord Chancellor Talbot. 23. Mr. W. Partridge (the 

8. Lord Chancellor Pengelly. Astrologer). 

9. Judge Price. 24. Mr. Mahomet (Servant to 

10. Rev. Mr. George Kelly. his late Majesty). 

11. Mr. Wright of Newington. 25. Mr. John Guy. 

12. Wm. Congreve, Esq. 26. Mr. Wills (the Comedian). 

13. Mr. Addison. 27. Elias Ashmore, Esq. 

14. Mr. Prior. 28. Arthur Maynwaring, Esq. 

15. Mr. Locke (with his letters 29. Walter Moule, Esq. 

and memoirs). SO. Wm. King, LL.D. 

16. Matthew Tindall, LL.D. 31. Mr. Manley (Author of the 

17. Mr. Nelson. 'Atlantis')-" 

Indeed, Curll seems to have had an itching hand for seizing on 
everybody's will; for, among other of the singular productions 
he put before the pubUc, is a satirical work called "Pylades and 
Corinna : Memoirs of the Lives, Letters, and Adventures of two 
Lovers, Richard Grinnett, Esq., of Great Shurdington in Glouces- 
tershire, and Mrs. EKzabeth Thomas Jenner of Great Russell 
Street, Bloomsbury, together with all the Incidents of their Six- 
teen Years' Coiui;ship, and two complete Copies of their last 
Wills and Testaments;" and yet more extraordinary, he invented 
a will for the Evil One, which he styled : "Satan turned Moralist ; 
or. The Devil's last Will and Testament. Price Is." A copy of 
this rare book, worthless though it may be as far as it might 
afford entertainment to any reader of the present day, would, 
we fancy, command a good many shillings now. 

Of these, fifteen are still extant, and in the library of the British 
Museum, viz. : those numbered, in our list of Curll's publications, 
respectively 2, 4, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 18, 21, 22, 23, 25, 26, 29 ; 
but it is no easy task to find them, even in the Catalogue. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS. AND FAMOUS WILLS 241 

A Weird Custom 

In one of Balzac's best novels, "Thie Country Doctor," he 
tells of a strange custom which prevails in some of the moun- 
tainous districts of France. It will be recalled that the Coxmtry 
Doctor leaves Paris and takes up his abode in a remote country 
•district, the purpose being to make amends for a life which at 
the outset had not been blameless and had brought about remorse 
and contrition. He devotes a long and useful life to the unso- 
phistipated country people among whom he locates. 

The custom referred to is that upon the death of a husband the 
neighbors surround the bier and at intervals wail, "The master 
is gone ! The master is gone ! The master is gone ! " The 
widow with her own hands cuts oflf her hair and places it in the 
liands of the corpse, as an evidence of devotion and constancy. 

To THE Devil 

There is perhaps no sentiment, grateful or spiteful, or any phase 
of humor, good or bad, which has not been illustrated in testamen- 
tary documents. 

Probably the legatee who stood the least chance of realizing was 
the Devil ; an attempt was made to make him a land owner in Fin- 
land ; a few years ago, a queer old native of that country devised 
all his property to the Devil without attempting to establish the 
identity of the devisee. The Devil's claim was disregarded and the 
property went to the heirs of the testator. It was suggested by one 
writer that doubtless the testator desired to make a good impression 
on his Satanic Majesty with a view to conciliating him ; another 
-writer suggests that even the name of the Devil in a will is better 
than none, such omissions being frequently found in wills. 

Devise to an Idol 

Within recent years, the Judiciary Committee of the Privy Coun- 
cil of Great Britain was called upon to pass on the validity of a testa- 
mentary devise made four hundred years prior to that time by a 
resident of India, conveying by will certain lands to the use of an 
idol, and, strange to say, this gift was sustained. 

Mr. Justice Riddell, of the Supreme Court of Canada, recently 
called attention to this remarkable devise, in an address before the 
State Bar Association of Missouri. 



242 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

It appears that one of the descendants of the original testator, 
after the lapse of four centuries, by a subsequent will, attempted to 
devise the same property which was formerly conveyed to the use of 
the idol. The Privy Council upheld the original gift, and the lands 
are still devoted to the use of the idol. 

The Lost Dauphin 

It is said the Duchesse d'AngoulSme, sister of the "Lost Dau- 
phin," was a cold-hearted woman who preferred the prospect of a 
throne to the calls of family affection. She died childless and ia 
exile at Prague in 1845. 

There is a story that on her deathbed she called to her side 
General la Rochejacquelein and whispered : 

"General, I have a fact, a very solemn fact, to reveal to you.. 
It is the testament of a dying woman. My brother is not dead ;. 
it has been the nightmare of my life. Promise me to take the neces- 
sary steps to trace him. France will not be happy nor at peace 
till he is on the throne of his fathers." 

The story is probably apocryphal ; if true, it is a pity that the 
dying duchess left no documentary proof of her belief, even though 
it involved the awful confession that it was her selfishness that had 
cheated her brother out of a throne and rendered him a nameless 
outcast. 

George Sand's Curiosity 

George Sand married in early life a coarse type of man, Casimir 
Dudevant. Their union was not a happy one. It happened that 
she found a packet in her husband's desk, marked, "Not to be 
opened untU after my death." She wrote of this in her corre- 
spondence : 

"I had not the patience to wait till widowhood. No one 
can be sure of surviving anybody. I assumed that my husband, 
had died, and I was very glad to learn what he thought of me while 
he was alive. Since the package was addressed to me, it was not 
dishonorable for me to open it." 

And so she opened it. It proved to be his will, but containing, as 
a preamble, his curses on her, expressions of contempt, and all the 
vulgar outpouring of an evil temper and angry passion. At once 
she formed the great decision of her life. 

She went to her husband as he was opening a bottle, and flung- 
the document upon the table. He cowered at her glance, at her 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 243 

firmness, and at her cold hatred. He grumbled and argued and 
entreated ; but all that his wife would say in answer was : 

"I must have an allowance. I am going to Paris, and my chil- 
dren are to remain here at Nohant." 

She went into the Latin Quarter, and not only Paris but the 
world heard much of her. She wrote, "The proprieties are the 
guiding principle of people without soul or virtue," and, as is well 
known, her life was in accord with this sentiment. 

Charles Dickens on Eldeelt Testatobs 

When Dickens came to America in 1842, he visited the chari- 
table institutions of Boston, Massachusetts, and of them wrote in 
his "American Notes": "I sincerely believe that the Public 
Institutions and Charities of Boston are as nearly perfect, as the 
most considerate wisdom, benevolence, and humanity can make 
them. I never in my life was more affected by the contemplation of 
happiness, under circumstances of privation and bereavements, 
than in my visits to these establishments." 

In this connection he writes of the creation of such institutions 
through wills : 

"The maxim that ' out of evil cometh good,' is strongly illus- 
trated by these establishments at home ; as the records of the Pre- 
rogative OflBce in Doctors' Commons can abundantly prove. 
Some immensely rich old gentleman or lady, surrounded by needy 
relatives, makes, upon a low average, a will a- week. The old gentle- 
man or lady, never very remarkable in the best of times for good 
temper, is full of aches and pains from head to foot ; full of fancies 
and caprices; full of spleen, distrust, suspicion, and dislike. To 
cancel old wills, and invent new ones, is at last the sole business of 
such a testator's existence ; and relations and friends (some of whom 
have been bred up distinctly to inherit a large share of the property 
and have been, from their cradles, especially disqualified from de- 
voting themselves to any useful pursuit, on that account) are so 
often and so unexpectedly and summarily cut off, and reinstated, 
and cut off again, that the whole family, down to the remotest 
cousin, is kept in a perpetual fever. At length it becames plain 
that the old lady or gentleman has not long to live ; and the plainer 
this becomes, the more clearly the old lady or gentleman perceives 
that everybody is in a conspiracy against their poor old dying rela- 
tive ; wherefore the old lady or gentleman makes another last will 



244 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

— positively the last this time — conceals the same in a china teapot, 
and expires next day. Then it turns out, that the whole of the real 
and personal estate is divided between half-a-dozen charities ; and 
that the dead and gone testator has in pure spite helped to do a 
great deal of good at the cost of an immense amount of evil passion 
and misery.'* 

The Cloak and Barking of Charles I. 

On the morning of January 30th, 1649, Charles I. rose early and 
for some time remained in prayer and meditation; he was then 
taken to Whitehall for execution, accompanied by his faithful 
Confessor, William Juxon, Bishop of London. On the scaffold 
with him were Colonel Hacker, another officer, and two men dis- 
guised with masks ; though heard by few, the King addressed the 
vast crowd in the following words : "For the people, truly, I de- 
sire their liberty and freedom as much as any body whosoever, 
but I must tell you that their liberty and their freedom consists in 
having of government those laws by which their life and their 
goods may be most their own. It is not for having share in Gov- 
ernment, Sirs ; that is nothing pertaining to them ; a subject and a 
sovereign are clean different things, and therefore until you do that, 
I mean that you do put the people in that liberty as I say, certainly 
they will never enjoy themselves." 

He made a last profession of faith and gathered his hair under his 
cap ; then took off his cloak and George and gave them to Bishop 
Juxon with one word, "B«member." He then took from his left 
ear a large pearl earring and formally bequeathed it to one of his 
faithful followers ; it is still preserved and is now owned by the 
Duke of Portland. It is pear-shaped, about five-eighths of an inch 
long and motmted with a gold top, and has a hook to pass through 
the ear. He then laid himself down on the block, breathed a short 
prayer, and stretched forth his hands, the appointed signal for the 
executioner, who performed his duty well, for the head of the King 
was severed by one blow and it was held up to the view of the crowd, 
which answered with a fearful groan. 

Masculine earrings were formerly quite common: Sir Walter 
Raleigh wore one, and so did Horace Walpole, and the Earl of South- 
ampton ; Shakespeare indulged the same taste. In modern times 
such male finery has been largely relegated to sailors, gypsies and 
negroes. 



ANCIENT. CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 245 

Exhortation to Condemned Prisoners 

Robert Dowe of St. Sepulchre, London, in his lifetime, on the 8th 
of May, 1705, gave £50 to the end that the vicar and church- 
wardens of that parish should, forever, previously to every execu- 
tion at Newgate, cause a bell to be tolled, and certain words to be 
delivered to the prisoners ordered for execution, in the form and 
manner specified in the terms of his gift, as set forth in the old will 
book. 

An annual sum of £l 6s. 8d. in respect of this gift was charged 
upon the parish estate in West Smithfield; it was paid to the 
sexton, who employed a person to go to Newgate on the night 
previous to every execution, where he offered to perform the pre- 
scribed duty, which was always declined, as all needful services 
of that kind were performed within the prison. 

Noorthouck, in his History of London, gives the words of the 
exhortation. He states that the sexton "comes at midnight, and 
after tolling his beU calls aloud, 

'You prisoners that are within, 
Who for wickedness and sin, 

after many mercies shewn you, are now appointed to die to-morrow 
in the forenoon, give ear and understand, that to-morrow morning 
the greatest bell of St. Sepulchre's shall toll for you in form of and 
manner of a passing bell, as is used to be tolled for those that are 
at the point of death ; to the end that all godly people hearing that 
bell, and knowing it is for you going to your deaths, may be stirred 
up heartily to pray to God to bestow his grace and mercy upon you 
whilst you live. I beseech you for Jesus Christ's sake to keep this 
night in watching and prayer, to the salvation of your own souls, 
while there is yet time and place for mercy ; as knowing to-morrow 
you must appear before the judgment seat of your Creator, there to 
give an account of things done in this life, and to suffer eternal 
torments for your sins committed against Him, unless upon your 
hearty and unfeigned repentance you find mercy through the 
merits, death, and passion of your only mediator and advocate 
Jesus Christ, who now sits at the right hand of God to make inter- 
cession for as many of you as penitently return to him.' 

"On the morning of execution, as the condemned criminals pass 
by St. Sepulchre's churchyard to Tyburn, he tolls his bell again and 
the cart stopping, he adds, 'All good people pray heartily unto God 



246 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

for these poor sinners, who are now going to their death, for whom 
this great bell doth toll. You that are condemned to die, repent 
with lamentable tears ; ask mercy of the Lord for the salvation of 
your own souls, through the merits, death, and passion of Jesus 
Christ, who now sits at the right hand of God, to make intercession 
for as many of you as penitently return unto Him. 

'Lord have mercy upon you ! 
Christ have mercy upon you ! 
Lord have mercy upon you ! 
Christ have mercy upon you !'" 

The Pabdoned Poet's Fabewell 

"John Carter," the convict whose poems brought him pardon, 
<lid not leave his Minnesota prison without a farewell message to his 
friends within its walls. This "last will and testament" was first 
printed in the weekly Prison Mirror, published in the penitentiary. 
The St. Paul Dispatch quotes it as follows : 

" This is the last will and testament of me, Anglicus. I hereby 
give and bequeath my collection of books (amounting to some 
6000 volumes) to Mr. Van D., in memory of the not altogether un- 
pleasant hours we spent together, hours marked by no shadow of 
animosity at any time. We could not be happy, but we were as 
happy as we could be. To Dr. Van D. I leave my mantle of origi- 
nality, and what remains of the veuve cliquot, in memory of encour- 
agement when I most needed it. 

" To the editor I leave my space on this journal and the best of 
good wishes in memory of his imf ailing courtesy and forbearance. 

" To Uncle John and to Sinbad go my heartiest wishes that we 
may meet soon in some brighter clime. 

" To Mr. Helgrams, my best dhudeen and the light of hope. 

"To young Steady and to Mr. D. M., my poetic laurels, which 
they are to share in equal measure. 

"To the boys in the printing-office, the consolation of not being 
obliged to set up my excruciating copy. 

"To the tailors (and to the boss tailor in particular, 'Little 
Italy,') my very best pair of pants. 

" To Jim of the laundry, — but nothing seems good enough for 
Jim, the best soul that ever walked. 

" To Portfiro Alexio Gonzolio, a grip of the hand. 

" To Davie, pie, pie again, and yet more pie. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 247 

" To the band boys — why, here's to 'em ! May they blow loose. 

"To my fellow pedagogues, 'More light,' as Goethe put it, more 
fellowship; it would be impossible to wise them. They know 
where I stand and I know where they stand. 

"Lawdy ! lawdy ! If I hadn't forgotten Otto and his assistant. 
Here's all kinds of luck to 'em, and no mistake about it. 

" Finally to all those not included hereinbefore (for various rea- 
sons), here's to our next merry meeting. To those in authority, 
thanks for a square deal. To mine enemy — but I mustn't bul- 
con him. 

" Gentlemen, I go, but I leave, I hope I leave my reputation 
behind me. 

" Anglicus." 
Probates his Own Will 

Judge R. B. Tappan, of Alameda, California, in July, 1910, prac- 
tically probated his own will. He filed in the Recorder's Office, of 
Alameda County, a document which makes the Alameda Lodge of 
Elks his beneficiary. He provides that if he dies or becomes insane 
Ms property is to go to the Elks. Throughout the legal phraseol- 
ogy of the instrument Judge Tappan has made many unique ob- 
servations, among which he states that he trusts that no one will 
inspect him too closely for signs of dementia. He says : 

" I hope that such things as leading a horse over a hill while I am 
batless and coatless and wearing a bandana handkerchief over my 
bead or wearing moccasins in the city will not be considered evi- 
dence of insanity sufficient to revoke the terms of this trust." 

On Judge Tappan's death he directs that such property as he has 
"transferred to the trust shall immediately be put to the uses of the 
Elks lodge after paying his funeral expenses, which, he says, should 
not be over $75. He remarks in the document that he has already 
paid $10 for a redwood box to convey his remains to the crematory. 
In regard to the document. Judge Tappan said : 

"I have the consent of the directors of my lodge of Elks to keep 
for me in their possession during my life my property now in their 
possession, and any property which I may place in their custody 
liereaf ter will be similarly held. I have made provisions in the 
declaration which will pass the trust fund to the Elks lodge in the 
event of my death or in the event of my becoming insane. The 
question of insanity is left to the officers of my lodge. There may 
^rise an occasion where some meddlesome person or persons would 



248 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

lodge a contest, and perhaps my wishes concerning the disposition 
of what belongs to R. B. Tappan would not be complied with. I 
have a right to do what I see fit with what is mine without consult- 
ing any one else, and it is a great satisfaction to me to-day to know 
just where my property will go in the event of the happening of 
either one of the conditions referred to. This proposition involves. 
a large sum of money and securities which are as good as gold coin, 
and the matter is no joke. The officers reahze this, or else they 
would not have accepted the trust. I never speculate or gamble in 
any form ; hence my trust is not likely to shrink much." 

Trust Companies as Executoes 

The Trust Companies of the United States and other countries 
have, in recent years, proved themselves the best mediums for ad- 
ministering wills ; such an institution located in Melbourne, Aus- 
tralia, in pointing out its merits and stability, quite imiquely, we 
think, quoted Tennyson's lines : 

"... Men may come, 
And men may go. 
But I go on for ever." 



CHAPTER VI 

WILLS OF FAMOUS FOREIGNERS 
"Farewell ! a long farewell, to all my greatness !" 

Wni OF THE Mabquis d'Aligee 

Before quoting the will of the Marquis d'Aligre, we will recall a 
little incident of his life, which, though it serves to show his char- 
acter, does not prepare us for the various phases of his shrewd and 
humorous mind. 

One day the marquis went to pay a visit to the Due de X., one 
of his friends, a man of scrupulous propriety and a great stickler 
for etiquette. Hardly had he taken leave, after an hour's chat, 
before the duke perceived on the mantelpiece a pair of brown gloves ; 
he looked at them and then drew back with horror ; these gloves 
of an indescribable hue had evidently once been white ! and it was 
actual wear that had tinted them. The tips of the fingers were 
twisted about and stiff, and the gaping buttonholes testified to their 
protracted and loyal service. No housemaid would have worn 
them to clean her stoves. 

The duke took his tongs, seized the gloves, and laying them on a 
folded newspaper, rolled them up with precaution, and having 
written on a slip of paper, "Gloves belonging to a great noble- 
man, one of the largest landowners in France," he fixed it with a 
pin to this singular parcel. Not many minutes later arrives the 
valet of the marquis, who, presenting himself before the duke, begs 
to know, not without some embarrassment, and blushing up to his 
ears, whether his master had not forgotten his gloves. Needless 
to 'say they were forthwith handed to him. 

We now proceed to the will of this gentleman, of which we pro- 
pose to transcribe the most remarkable clauses, which, however, we 
must remark, seem to have been penned in a spirit of justice. 

"Art. IV. — I leave to M. de Boissey, my blessing, to com- 
pensate him for the curses which M. Pasquier heaped upon him 
every day. May it be of use to him on the judgment-day." 

"Art. VII. — I withdraw from M. A . . . , and M ... x the 

249 



250 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

sums I had left them by a former will ; they have so often pro- 
claimed that I am a man who would cut a farthing in four, that I 
would on no account oblige them to change their opinion." 

"Art. IX. — I advise Madame de Pomereu, or those she may 
authorize, to pay to the charcutiers of Paris the sum of 10,000 francs 
in remembrance of their predecessors, who before the Revolution 
dealt for their ham and other smoked meats at the H6tel d'AUgre, 
Rue St. Honore. 

"Art. X. — I leave 20,000 francs a-year to the invalide who, 
being on guard on the Pont des Arts in 1839, and, judging from 
the shabbiness of my dress that I was in distress, paid for me the 
five centimes toU." 

"Art. XIII. — Considering that virtue ought to be encouraged, 
I consecrate 100,000 francs yearly to the formation of fifty dowries 
of 2000 francs in favour of fifty Rosieres. The Mayor of Nanterre, 
who finds these maidens every year, will be good enough to under- 
take the distribution. If by chance his commune should not fur- 
nish him the necessary contingent, he is authorized to address him- 
self to the Gymnase Theatre. 

"Art. XIV. —I leave 200,000 francs a-year to the 'Pha- 
lansterians ' ; but they are only to receive this sum on the day on 
which they shall have transformed the ocean into orangeade, and 
gratified mankind with that appendage he needs to make him equal 
to the gibbon." 

"Art. XVI. — Taking compassion on the poor of the firstarron- 
dissement, I desire that the value of the cereals harvested on my 
land at the next harvest shall be distributed to them in its entirety. 

"Art. XX. — Finally, I leave to my relatives, oblivion; to my 
friends, ingratitude ; to God, my soul. As for my body, it belongs 
to my family vault." 

The brother of the testator was put into the will for a legacy so 
absurdly disproportionate to what he considered he had a right to 
expect that the following not very maturely considered observation 
thereon appeared in a newspaper of the date (1847) : 

"The celebrated Croesus who has just died has revealed in his 
will certain little pecuKarities of which few suspected him. He was 
a great protector of rats ; and on the day but one before that of his 
death he was at the races with four of these animals in his caliche. 
He had a brother who gave him very good advice on this subject, 
like the C14ante of ' Tartuffe,' to whom he replied by a little posthu- 
mous epigram, indicative of his churUsh disposition; he has left 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 251 

lum, out of his large fortune, a dole of 20,000 francs per annum. 
There is no revenge so hard and bitter as that of an old man. 
There are, we venture to think, many brothers, all the same, who 
"would be very glad of a fraternal legacy of eight hundred a-year, 
and, moreover, we know nothing of the provocation that may 
tave been given; Hke Lord Campbell, 'we should like to hear the 
dog's story.' " 

Possibly the old Marquis felt the separation he contemplated 
between himself and )i\ie fortune he had amassed, but if he enter- 
tained any malicious sentiments against those to whom he was 
obliged to leave what he could not take away with him, he seems 
to have been fully justified in the somewhat severe animadversions 
he has passed on some of his legatees. 

To a lady relative, who had been full of attentions for him, he left 
a broken cup, jeering her with the taimt that while she thought she 
was taking him in he was laughing in his sleeve at the grimace she 
would make when she found that it was he who had got all her little 
gifts, her smiles and favors out of her, knowing all the while that 
he had no intention of repaying them as she expected. 

"As for you," he says at the end of the will, "you, my good and 
admirable valet, who have so long taken me for your dupe, you will 
now learn that it is you who have been mine ; when at the conclu- 
sion of my dinner you thought I was applauding your economy and 
your zeal, in carefully putting together the remains of bottles of 
wine and keeping them for the next meal, it never occurred to you 
that I was weU aware you took for your own use whole bottles. 
When you came with tearful eyes and coaxing voice to wait on me 
the moment I was suflPering from any trifling indisposition, present- 
ing to me my tisanes with an assumed air of condolence and anxiety, 
you little thought how my instinct, following you into the servants' 
hall, guessed the language in which you expressed yourself there. 
'The old fellow,' you used to say, ' can't last much longer, and 
then I shall come in for my hard-earned legacy.' 

"Well, my dear fellow, I am sorry to tell you this was all a mis- 
take, and you have got to learn that masters are not always so 
much stupider as you suppose than their servants. 

"As for you, my relatives, who have been so long spelling upon 
this fortune, on which ' I had concentrated all my affections,' 
you are not going to touch a penny of it, and not one of you will be 
able to boast that you have squandered the millions which the old 
Marquis d'Aligre had taken so many years to hoard up." 



252 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Cardinal ANTONEtu's Will 

The great wealth Cardinal Antonelli,who died in 1876, is reported 
to have left, has aroused special interest with regard to his will, and 
given rise to endless gossip, not only as to its contents, but con- 
cerning the document itself. At first it was reported that it could 
not be found ; then, that it had disappeared in some remarkable man- 
ner ; that it had been purposely destroyed ; that the cardinal had 
made no will ; and many other canards were circulated. Later, how- 
ever, the iz6erto announced that it was in the hands of the public no- 
tary in the Piazza San Claudio, where it could be seen, but that only 
those having a direct interest in its contents could be permitted to 
examine it. Subsequently the Popolo Romano published the docu- 
ment in extenso, together with the notary's statement concerning it, 
as follows : 

"kepebtort no. 187 

"Reigning His Majesty Victor Emmanuel II., by the grace of 
God and the will of the nation. King of Italy. 

"I, the undersigned, pubUc notary, certify that among my acts 
under the hereafter-inscribed day is to be found the registered re- 
port of the deposit of the holograph testament of the defunct Most 
Eminent Cardinal Giacomo Antonelli, made at the instance of the 
illustrious advocate, Signor Antonio Bachetoni, to the following 
effect : 

"The year one thousand eight hundred and seventy-six on Thurs- 
day, the twenty-third day of the month of November, in Rome. 
Before me, Scipione Vici, pubhc notary, having my office upon the 
Piazza San Claudio, No. 93, and inscribed in the Council of Notaries 
of the district of the Collegio di Roma, assisted by the undersigned 
witnesses, qualified according to law, and in the presence of the 
illustrious advocate Signor Enrico Simonetti, Prsetor of my manda- 
ment, duly executed at his residence, situated in Via Gesu e Maria, 
No. 28, and of the Signori Jacopini ToroUo, son of the late Giovanni 
Batta, of Arcidosso, in the Province of Grosseto, domiciled Via 
Orsoline No. 2, and Filippo Ciavambini, son of the late Petito, of 
Ascoli, domiciled Via de' Speech! No. 3, both employis, has person- 
ally appeared the illustrious advocate Antonio Bachetoni, son of the 
late Giovanni, native of Spoleto, domiciled in Rome, in Via del 
Corso No. 509, of full age, being juridically qualified, and known to 
me, notary, who, in consequence of express instructions received 
from the noble Signori Conti Gregorio, Angelo, and Luigi Antonelli, 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 253 

brothers german, has applied to me to deposit with me notary, 
certain papers, which they assert contain the last testamentary 
dispositions of the aforesaid defunct Most Eminent and Most Rev- 
erend Signor Cardinal Giacomo Antonelli, who passed from among 
the living on the sixth day of the current November, as results from 
the certificate of the Board of Health, given the 22nd day of No- 
vember, 1876, and which I insert (Appendix No. 1). Wherefore, 
in presence of the aforesaid Signor Praetor and of the aforesaid wit- 
nesses, he has consigned to me an open envelope, on the outside of 
which was found written, ' Testament of Cardinal Giacomo Anto- 
neUi,' and having examined the contents of the same, they were 
found to consist of two sheets of paper folded in quarto, and an- 
other small envelope, of which the requisite description will be made 
in its proper place. Opening the two sheets, it was found that they 
were in one handwriting and consisted of six pages written through- 
out, and the seventh upon the half only, followed by the date ' Rome, 
January 18, 1871,' and by the signature ' G. Card. Antonelli.' On 
the third page an interlineation of fifteen words was observed, and 
on the fifth and seventh pages the insertion of a word in each with- 
out any marginal note or erasure, as follows : 



" ' Desiring to dispose of my property now that, by the grace of 
God, I find myself sane in mind and body, using the faculties which 
I have as Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church, with this document, 
by me written and subscribed, I make herewith my last will and 
testament. Before everything else I recommend my poor soul to 
the infinite mercy of God, trusting that through the intercession of 
the Most Holy Immaculate Mary, and of my patron saints, St. 
Peter, St. Paul, St. James, and St. Louis, He may grant me remis- 
sion of my sins, and make me worthy of the eternal glory of Para- 
dise. I forbid the dissecting or embalming of my body after death 
in any way or for whatsoever motive, and order that it be interred 
in the burying-place of my chapel in the Church of Sta. Agata alia 
Suburra, near my good mother. 

" ' The funeral shall be made according to custom in the church 
which it shall please the Holy Father to appoint. During the eight 
days following my death I order that a hundred masses a day be 
celebrated, with the alms of thirty sous for each mass. 

" ' A part of these masses shall be caused to be celebrated by the 



254 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Mendicant Friars. I humbly beg the Holy Father to accept the 
respectful ofiFerrng I make him of the crucifix standing on my writ- 
ing-table, having the cross inlaid with lapis-lazuli, and at the base 
the kneeling Magdalene, within the centre of said base a bas-relief, 
representing the Addolorata, and other ornaments in silver. I 
pray him to accept with paternal goodness this object as a homage 
from the most devoted and faithful of his subjects, who dies tran- 
quil in the conscience of never having failed in duty towards his 
sacred person, and the conviction of having always with all earnest- 
ness and honesty served him in the true interests of the Church and 
of the State. Before proceeding to dispose of my private fortune, 
I declare that I do not possess any other capital beyond that which 
came from the heritage of my excellent father, or which I have been, 
able to acquire through the means left me by him. I protest, 
therefore, against all the calumnies which on that and on any other 
account whatsoever have been in so many ways circulated through 
the world, before God who is to judge me, and before Him I forgive 
from my heart all those who have tried to do me evil. 

" ' If, in doing my duty, I may have caused displeasure to any- 
one, I have the conscience of never having had even the intention 
of injuring anyone whomsoever. I direct my heirs to consign to 
the persons whom I have thought it my duty to remember some 
memoranda which I shall leave written in a sealed paper by me 
subscribed. 

" ' I leave to the Hospital of Santo Spirito, for one time only, 
twenty-five francs, and other twenty -five francs to the Holy Places 
of Jerusalem. 

" ' To my Titular Church of Santa Maria in Via Lata, I leave my 
white tonacella. The red one I leave to the Church of Sta. Agata 
aUa Suburra, the commenda of which I hold. The violet pianeta 
I leave to the monastery of St. Marta, of which I am protector. 

" ' The sacred hangings and altar-plate of my private chapel I 
desire may be preserved for the chapel of my house on the Quirinal, 
and they shall belong to the heir to whom I assign the said house. 

" ' I institute as universal proprietary heirs my dearest brothers, 
Filippo, Gregorio, Luigi, and Angelo, my nephew, Agostino, son 
of Gregory, and my other nephew, Paolo, son of Luigi, to each of 
whom, as I shall say afterwards, I assign and determine such por- 
tion of the property and of the objects as I will they may possess, 
and I will that each of them may bear the respective legacy-duty 
according to the value of the share falling to him. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 255 

All my possessions, furniture, gold, silver, precious objects, 
titles, and effects whatsoever, the credits, and the little money that 
may be found in my possession at the time of my death, except the 
collection of stones and other things of which I shall dispose herein- 
after, I assign to my brothers as above, Filippo, Gregorio, Luigi, 
and Angelo, and I pray them to accept this my disposition as a 
proof of the sincere affection which I have always borne them 
equally, and as an attestation of the gratitude I have always 
entertained towards them for the affection which they have shown 
me under all circumstances. 

" * I assign to my nephew Agostino, heir as above, my house in 
Rome, situate near the Quirinal, bought from Conte Vimercati, 
with everything which is in the said house at the moment of writing 
this present will ; so that, if at the moment of my death any objects 
of whatsoever kind be found there which are now in my apartment at 
the Vatican these I declare to belong to my brothers as above. I 
assign also to my aforesaid nephew the altar-furniture of my private 
chapel at the Vatican. ■ I assign him also the collection of marbles, 
with the cabinets containing them, exactly as they are in my apart- 
ment at the Vatican. 

" ' I declare, however, that in the aforesaid collection I do not 
mean to comprehend the rock crystals and other objects which are 
kept in three other separate cabinets, one of which contains medals, 
which I declare to belong to my brothers as above. I assign to my 
nephew, Paolo, son of my brother, Luigi, heir as above, all the 
property I possess in the territory of Ceccano and adjoining terri- 
tories, with all that is to be found in it, nothing excluded, with the 
following conditions — that is, that my brother, Angelo, having 
had the patience to occupy himself always with the administration 
of my possessions in Ceccano and adjoining territories, I ordain 
that neither my said nephew nor any other person have any right 
or title whatsoever to take him to account for the aforesaid ad- 
ministration, he having always done everything with my full un- 
derstanding and having always regularly transmitted to me all the 
rents of the aforesaid properties. 

" ' I dispose, moreover, that all that shall exist at the time of 
my death of products or rents, as well natural as civil, from the 
said properties as above, for two seasons following the same, in- 
cluding that in which my death shall happen, shall be freely enjoyed 
by him as legatee, continuing to hold the administration as he did 
during n:iy lifetime, exonerating him again from any rendering of 



256 ANCIENT. CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

account whatsoever. I dispose also that the heir shall not enter 
into possession of the aforesaid property until after two seasons 
as aforesaid after my death. 

" ' I leave besides, as a legacy to my said brother, Angelo, the 
two large silver vases with bas-reliefs on their bowls which are to 
be found in my writing-room of my apartment in the Vatican, and 
I request my said brother to accept and preserve them as an attes- 
tation of my affection and a recognition of all the affectionate re- 
gards he has shown towards me during my life. And I also request 
of all my heirs that all the legacies of furniture, pictures, and other 
objects may be preserved and used in their respective famihes, 
avoiding under any circumstances that any portion of them be 
sold by pubKc auction. 

" ' Finally, I direct that all my said heirs shall amicably divide 
my heritage among themselves in the portions according as I have 
assigned them, making of them a simple familiar description for 
their own guidance. I also leave to all my servants for their natu- 
ral lives ; to those in my service at the time of my death, and who 
have served me for more than twenty-five years, the full monthly 
wages they received when I was alive ; to those who have served 
me for more than fifteen years I leave two-thirds of their monthly 
wages ; and to those who have served me for less than ten years, 
one-third of their monthly wages. In the enjoyment of this dis- 
position, notwithstanding that it is lumecessary to declare it, I 
intend that the two ecclesiastics who form part of my household 
shall be comprised. I expressly prohibit that any of the aforesaid 
shall, for whatsoever reason, effect mortgages upon the property 
which constitutes my heritage or upon that of my heirs for the 
purpose of securing any assignments I have left them, and I declare 
that I have made the said assignments solely imder the express 
condition that they do not affect any such mortgage ; and if any or 
all of them should think fit to do so, then I declare that ipso facto 
they are excluded from the prescription of the said assignment, 
which is none other than a gratuitous liberality, and I give them 
instead one hundred scudi for once only. 

" ' G. Cardinals Antonelli. 

'"Rome, 18th January, 1871.' 

"The small envelope enclosed with the above bears on the out- 
side the following inscription: 'For my heirs.' The contents, 
being taken out, consisted of a small sheet of paper written evenly 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 257 

in the same handwriting, on the first two pages throughout, and a 
part of the third, and at bottom the date — Rome, 18th of January, 
1871, and the signature, 'G. Card. Antonelli.' There are neither 
erasures nor marginal notes, interKneations nor additions. The 
tenor of this Uttle sheet is as follows : 

" ' My heirs are to pay the following legacies : 

" ' To my good sister Rosalia, married Sanguigni, 5000 francs. 

"'To my niece Anna Sanguigni, married to Count Pocci, 5000 
francs. 

" ' To my niece Lucia Antonelli, 5000 francs. 

" ' To my niece Teresa Antonelli, 5000 francs. 

" ' To my niece Innocenza, married Bornana, the binitier with 
silver bas-relief representing the Nativity, which stands near my 
bed. 

" ' To my nephew Agostino, the watch which stands on the little 
table, with the arms of the Holy Father, given me by His HoKness 
on occasion of the Centenary of St. Peter. 

" ' To my nephew Domenico, the other pocket-watch, with my 
arms. 

'"To my nephew Paolo, the watch, with gold chain, which I 
wear every day, with my arms on one side and my cipher on the 
other. 

" ' To my nephew Pietro, twelve silver converts of those which I 
use daily. 

" ' To my sister-in-law Mariana, one of my pair of great silver 
lamps, whichever she chooses. The other I leave to my sister-in- 
law Peppina. 

" ' To my sister-in-law Mimma, I leave my triangular silver ink- 
stand which stands upon my best writing-table, together with one 
of the two Uttle boxes of Florentine mosaic which are in the same 
room. 

" ' To my sister-in-law Vittoria, I leave the silver basin and vase 
of English work which are in the case. To my niece Emma, wife of 
Agostino, I leave all my lace. To her good mother, Contessa Gar- 
cia, I leave the little service of silver-gilt, consisting of tray, coffee- 
pot, cream-jug, sugar-bowl, and cups, with spoons, requesting her 
to accept them as a remembrance of one who is grateful to her for all 
the kindness she used towards him while he was in this world, and 
who prays her to make use of the said objects for her dSjeuner. 

" ' G. Card. Antonelli. 

"'Rome, January 18th, 1871.'" 



258 ANCIENT. CURIOUS. AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Then follow the attestation of the notary and the signatures of 
Cardinal Antonelli's lawyer, of the Praetor, and of the witnesses, 
and the note of expenses of registration. 

Will of Matthew Aenold 

The estate of Matthew Arnold amounted to £1041. His will 
is in his own handwriting, and is one of the shortest that ever came 
under probate : " I leave everything of which I die possessed to 
my wife, Frances." 

Will of Jean Baptists Robert Augee 

Jean Baptiste Robert Auger, Baron de Montyon, was born in 
1733 and died in 1820; he was a French economist and philan- 
thropist, and a friend of Franklin. The Baron was a member of 
the King's Government just before the Revolution. Although by 
birth and social position an aristocrat, all his heart was with the 
poor and suffering of the land. 

In 1783 he founded several prizes, the chief one being a prize 
for the most remarkably virtuous act on the part of any poor 
French citizen. By his will he left a large sum of money for the 
purpose of "aiding virtue," as he said. "The doers of the actions 
honored," the will stipulated, "shall not be of a station above the 
middle classes of humanity." The annual award of these prizes 
is made by the French Academy. 

As years have passed, other rich philanthropists have added 
to the original sum, until to-day the income is sufficient to award 
every year a large number of prizes that are really of substantial 
aid to those who receive them. 

For a number of years after the Government had received the 
bequest, it did not make any awards. During the Revolution 
the convention voted that it did not approve of awarding any such 
prizes ; so the principal was allowed to accumulate. But during 
the reign of Napoleon it was turned over to the newly restored 
Academy as the most capable and impartial tribunal in the land, 
and the Academy, which is composed of forty foremost men of 
letters in France, has had charge of the constantly increasing fund 
ever since. 

The award of prizes is made with much ceremony at a public 
meeting of the Academy on a certain fixed day every year. One of 
the most eloquent members of the Academy is chosen to tell in an 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 259 

"oration" to whom, and why, the prizes for that year have been 
awarded. If all these " orations " could be collected and published, 
they would make one of the most inspiring books ever written. 

Part of each bequest is set aside to employ investigators to make 
thorough inquiries about each request for a reward. Such re- 
quests are never permitted to come from the person to be rewarded, 
nor from his family. Generally, the people in a small town or 
village send a joint petition to the Academy, requesting the reward 
for one of their members. 

Among the recent rewards is the characteristic case of Lau- 
rentine Armenjon, a girl from the mountains of Savoy. She is 
eighth in a family of fifteen children. When nine years old, her 
youngest sister was carried away by gypsies, and from grief and 
distress over this, the mother lost her reason. Ever since, 
now ten years ago, Laurentine has had charge of the brothers and 
sisters, older as well as younger ; and of the bedridden demented 
mother besides, while the father is away in the fields toiling for his 
scanty living. 

A gift of one thousand francs was sent to one of the most remote 
islands of the South Pacific, to three nuns who are surely among the 
most heroic of living creatures. The Island of Mangareva, where 
they live, is a leper colony. It is not likely that one of these 
women will ever leave this lonely desolate spot, so far away from 
the land of their families and friends that news from home comes 
only once in six months. The nearest civilization lies forty days' 
journey over the ocean. Many nuns have gone before these three 
to voluntary exile on this island, but they have all succumbed 
within a few years; one or two were driven insane by the very 
loneliness and desolation of the life. Though they knew this in 
advance, yet these three women from Brittany have consecrated 
the rest of their lives, be they long or short, to God's service there. 

No prize is ever granted for one act of heroism ; but every award 
is made to a person who has devoted years of patient service to 
some good cause. Moreover, the awards are rather aids than 
prizes, granted in order to enable the person awarded to carry on 
some good work to even greater usefulness. 

Will of Loed Bacon 

Lord Bacon in 1625, bequeathed his soul and body to God, 
while his name and memory he left to men's charitable speeches, 
and to foreign nations and the next ages. 



260 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Will of the Duke of Brunswick 

"To-day, the 5th of March, 1871, Hdtelde la Metropole, Geneva. 

" This is our Will or Testament, — We, Charles Frederic Auguste 
William, by the Grace of God Duke Sovereign of Brunswick and 
of Luneburg, &c., being in good health of body and mind, declare — 

" 1. That we revoke by the present all testaments or writings 
prior to this one. 2. We wish that after our death our executors 
here named shall cause our body to be examined by five of the most 
celebrated physicians and surgeons in order to make sure that we 
have not been poisoned, and to make an exact report in writing, 
signed by them, of the cause of our death. 3. We wish that our 
body be embalmed, and if better for its preservation, petrified, 
according to the printed method adjoined. We wish our funeral 
to be conducted with all the ceremony and splendour due to our 
rank of Sovereign Duke. 4. We wish our body to be deposed in a 
mausoleum above the ground, which shall be erected by our execu- 
tors at Geneva, in a dignified and prominent position. The monu- 
ment shall be surmounted by an equestrian statue and surrounded 
by those of our father and grandfather of glorious memory, after 
the design attached to this testament in imitation of that of the 
Scaglieri at Verona ; our executors shall construct the said monu- 
ment ad libitum of the millions of our succession, in bronze and 
marble, by the most celebrated artists. 5. We make the condition 
that our testamentary executors shall not enter into any sort of 
compromise with our unnatural relations — Prince William of 
Brunswick, the ex-King of Hanover, his son, the Duke of Cam- 
bridge, or any one else of our pretended family, their servitors, 
their agents, or any other person whatever. 6. We wish our 
testamentary executors to use every means to put themselves in 
possession of our fortune remaining in our Duchy of Brunswick, in 
Hanover, in Prussia, in America, or elsewhere. 7. We make as a 
condition that our executors respect and execute all the codicils 
and legacies which we have the intention to make in favour of our 
surroundings. 8. We declare that we leave and bequeath our 
fortune — that is, our chateaux, domains, forests, estates, mines, 
saltworks, hotels^ houses, parks, libraries, gardens, quarries, 
diamonds, jewels, silver, pictures, horses, carriages, porcelain, 
furniture, cash, bonds, public funds, bank-notes, and particularly 
that important part of our fortune which has been taken from us 
by force and kept since 1830, with all the interests in our Duchy of 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS. AND FAMOUS WILLS 261 

Brunswick, to the city of Geneva. 9. We leave to Mr. George 
Thomas Smith, of No. 228, King's Road, Chelsea, in England, 
administrator-general, grand treasurer of our fortune, l,000,000f., 
and we nominate him executor in chief of this testament. We like- 
wise appoint M. Ferdininant Cherbuliez, advocate at Genoa. This 
testament is entirely written and signed by om- hand, and sealed 
with our arms. 

"Duke of Brunswick." 

Will op Lord Bulwer-Lytton 

The will of the late Lord Bulwer-Lytton, who died in 1873, con- 
tained special directions as to the examination of his body, in order 
to provide against the possibility of his being buried whilst in a 
trance, which appeared to be an apprehension of his. The will 
further provided that the funeral expenses should be limited to what 
was usual, simply, in the interment of a private gentleman ; and 
that any epitaph which might be intended for his tomb should be 
written in the English language. 

Will of Edmund Burke 

Edmund Burke is believed to have been bom in Dublin on the 
12th day of January, 1729 ; he died on the 8th day of July, 1797. 
His gifts of oratory impressed the people of his time, and have 
remained models ever since ; he must ever be held in affectionate 
esteem by Americans, for his speeches on "American Taxation" 
and "Conciliation with America" are regarded as the most brilliant 
examples of his eloquence and statesmanship. Had his counsels 
been adopted, the War of Independence would have been averted. 
Burke left strict injunctions that his burial should be private, and 
in spite of a great demand for his interment in Westminster Abbey, 
he was laid to rest in the little church at Beaconsfield, a few miles 
from Windsor. 

His will remains on file at Somerset House, London, and the 
testament is here given as it there literally appears : 

" If my dear Son & friend had survived me, any Will would have 
been unnecessary but since it has pleased God to call him to him- 
self before his Father, my duty calls upon me to make such a dis- 
position of my worldly affairs as seems to my best Judgment most 
Equitable and reasonable ; therefore, I, Edmund Burke, of the 
parish of Saint James, Westminster, though suffering under sore 



262 ANCIENT, CUEIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

and inexpressible affliction being of sound and disposing Mind and 
not affected by any bodily infirmity, do make my last will and 
Testament, in manner following ; First, according to the Ancient 
good and laudable Custom of which my Heart & understanding 
recognizes the propriety, I bequeath my soul to God, hoping for 
his Mercy thro' the only Merits of our Lord and Saviour Jesus 
Christ ; my Body I desire, if I should die in any place very con- 
venient for its Transport thither (but not otherwise), to be buried 
in the Church at Beaconsfield near to the Bodies of my dearest 
Brother & my dearest Son, in all Humility praying that as we 
have lived in perfect Amity together we may together have a part 
in the Resurrection of the Just ; I wish my Funeral to be (without 
any Punctiliousness in that respect) the same as that of my brother 
and to exceed it as little as possible in point of Charge, whether on 
Account of my Family or of any others who would go to a greater 
expence, & I desire in the same manner and with the same 
Qualifications that no Monument beyond a Middle sized Tablet 
with a small and simple inscription on the Church Wall or on the 
Flagstone be erected ; I say this because I know the Partial kind- 
ness to me of some of my Friends, but I have had in my life time 
but too much of noise and compliment: as to the rest it is 
uncertain what I shall leave after the Discharge of my Debts 
which when I write this are very great. Be that as it may, 
my Will concerning my worldly substance is short. As my 
entirely beloved, Faithful & affectionate Wife did during 
the whole time in which I lived most happily with her take 
on her the charge & Management of my affairs, assisted by 
her son, whilst God was pleased to lend him to us, did con- 
duct them (often in a state of much derangement and embar- 
rassment) with a patience and prudence which probably have 
no example, & thereby left my Mind free to prosecute my 
publick duty or my Studies or to indulge in my relaxations or to 
cultivate my friends at my pleasure ; so on my Death I wish things 
to continue as substantially they have always been. I therefore 
by this my last and only Will devise, leave & bequeath to my 
entirely beloved and incomparable Wife, Jane Mary Burke, the 
whole real Estate of which I shall die seized, whether Lands, 
Rents or Houses, in absolute Fee simple ; as also all my Personal 
Estate, whether Stock, Furniture, Plate, Money or Securities for 
Money Annuities for lives or Years, be the said Estate of what 
nature. Quality, extent or description it may be, to her sole uncon- 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS. AND FAMOUS WILLS 263 

trolled Possession & disposal, as her property in any manner 
which may seem proper to her to possess or to dispose of the same 
(whether it be real Estate or Personal Estate) by her last will or 
otherwise ; it being my intention that she may have as clear and 
uncontrolled a right and Title thereto and therein as I possess 
myself as to the use, expenditure, Sale or devise. I hope these 
Words are sufficient to express the absolute and unconditioned, 
unlimited right of compleat Ownership. I mean to give to her 
the said Lands and Goods and I trust that no words of surplusage 
or ambiguity may vitiate this my clear intention; there are no 
persons who have a right or I believe a disposition to complain 
of this bequest which I have only weighed and made on a proper 
consideration of my Duties and the relations in which I stand. I 
also make my wife, Jane Mary Burke, aforesaid, my sole Execu- 
trix of this my last Will, knowing that she will receive advice and 
assistance from her and my excellent Friends D^ Walker King 
& D- Lawrence, to whom I recommend her & her concerns, though 
that perhaps is needless, as they are as much attached to her as 
they are to me. I do it only to mark my special Confidence in 
their affection. Skill and Industry. I wish that my Dear Wife 
may, as soon after my Decease as Possible (which after what has 
happened she will see with Constancy and resignation), make her 
last will with the advice and assistance of the two persons I have 
named ; but it is my wish also that she will not think herself so 
bound up by any bequests she may make in the said Will & 
which whilst she lives can be only intentions, as not dur- 
ing her life to use her property with all the Liberty I have 
given her over it, just as if she had written no Will at all 
but in everything to follow the directions of her own Equi- 
table and Charitable Mind and her own prudent and meas- 
ured understanding. Having thus committed every thing to 
her Discretion I recommend (subject always to that Discretion) 
that if I should not during my life give or secure to my Dear Niece, 
Mary C. Hairland, wife of my worthy Friend, Capt" Hairland, the 
sum of a thousand pound or an Annuity equivalent to it, that she 
would bestow upon her that Sum of Money or Annuity Condi- 
tioned and limited in such manner as she, my Wife aforesaid, may 
think proper by a Devise in her Will or otherwise, as she may find 
most convenient to the situation of her affairs without pressure 
upon her during her life ; my Wife put me in Mind of this which 
I now recommend to her; I certainly some years ago gave my 



264 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Niece reason to expect it but I was not able to execute my inten- 
tions. If I do this in my life time this recommendation goes for 
nothing. As to my other Friends, Relations, and Companions 
through Life, and especially to the Friends and Companions of 
my Son, who were the dearest of mine, I am not unmindful of what 
I owe them, if I do not name them all here and mark them with 
tokens of my Remembrance I hope they will not attribute it to 
unkindness or to a want of a due Sense of their Merits towards me. 
My old Friend and Faithful Companion, Will. Burke, knows his 
place in my heart. I do not mention him as Executor or Assistant. 
I know that he will attend to my Wife, but I chose the two I have 
mentioned as from their time of Life of greater activity. I recom- 
mend him to them. In the Political World I have made many con- 
nections and some of them amongst persons of high rank; their 
Friendship from political became personal to me and they have 
shewn it in a manner more than to satisfie the utmost demands that 
could be made from my love & sincere attachment to them. They 
are the worthiest people in the Kingdom; their intentions are 
excellent, and I wish them every kind of success. I bequeath my 
brother in law, John Nugent, & the friends in my poor Sons list, 
which is in his Mother's hands, to their protection as to them & 
to the rest of my Companions who constantly Honoured and Cheered 
our House as our Inmates I have put down their names in a list 
that my Wife should send them the usual remembrance of little 
Mourning Rings as a token of my remembrance. In speaking of 
my Friends to whom I owe so many obligations I ought to name 
specially Lord Fitzwilliam, the Duke of Portland and the Lord 
Cavendishes with the D. of Devonshire the worthy head of that 
Family. If the intimacy which I have had with others has been 
broken off by a PoKtical Difference on great Questions concerning 
the State of things existing and impending, I hope they will forgive 
whatever of general human Infirmity or of my own particular 
Infirmity has entered into that contention. I heartily entreat 
their forgiveness. I have nothing Further to say. Signed & 
Sealed as my last Will and Testament this ll'^ day of Augustj 
1794 being written all with my oVn hand. Edm. Burke — in the 
presence of — Dupont — William — Webster — Walker & King. 

" In reading over the above Will I have nothing to add or essen- 
tially to alter but one point may want to be perfected & explained. 
In leaving my Lands and Heredits to my wife I find that I have 
omitted the Words which in Deeds Create an Inheritance in Law. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 265 

Now tho' I think them hardly necessary in a Will yet to obviate all 
doubts I explain the matter in a Codicil which is annexed to this 
— (sic) 22 1797. — Edm. Burke. 

" I Edm. Burke of the parish of Beaconsfield, in the county of 
Bucks, being of sound and disposing Judgment and Memory, make 
this my last will and testament, in no sort revoking but explaining 
& confirming a Will made by me and dated the eleventh of August, 
in which will I have left. Devised and Bequeathed all my estate 
of whatever nature and Quality the same may be. Whether lands. 
Tenements, Houses, Freehold or Leasehold, Interests, Pensions 
for lives or years, Arrears of the same. Legacies or other debts due 
to me ; Plate, Household StuflF, Books, Stock in Cattle & Horses & 
utensils of Farming & all other my Goods and Chattels to my dear 
Wife I : M : Burke in as full & perfect manner as the same might 
be Devised, Conveyed or transferred to her by any Act or Instru- 
ment whatsoever; with such recommendations as in my Will 
aforesaid are made & with a wish that in the discharge of my 
Debts the course hitherto pursued may be as nearly as possible 
observed. Sensible however that in payment of Debt no exact rule 
can be preserved; the same is therefore left to her Discretion, 
with the advice of our Friends whom she will naturally Consult. 
The reason of my making this will or Codicil to my former Will is 
from my having omitted in devising by that Will my Lands and 
Heredits to my Wife aforesaid, the full and absolute Property 
thereof & therein I have omitted the legal Words of Inheritance. 
Now tho' I think those words however necessary in a Deed are 
not so in a Will, yet to prevent all Question, I do hereby devise 
all my Lands Tenements and Heredits as well as all other property 
that may be subject to a strict Rule of Law in Deeds & which would 
pass if left undevised to my Heirs. I say I do devise the same 
Lands tenements and Hereditaments to my Wife, Jane Mary 
Burke, and her Heirs for ever in pure absolute and unconditional 
Fee simple. I have now only to recommend to the kindness of 
my Lord Chancellor L-. Loughborough, to his Grace the Duke of 
Portland, to the most Honorable the Marquiss of Buckingham, to 
the R^ Honble W™ Windham & to D^ Lawrence of the Conmions 
and Member of Parliament, that they will after my death continue 
their Protection and favour to the Emigrant School at Penn & 
will entreat, with a weight on which I dare not presume, the R- 
Hon. W™ Pitt to continue the necessary allowances which he has 
so generously and charitably Provided for those unhappy Children 



266 ANCIENT, CUEIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

of Meritorious Parents ; that they will superintend the same, which 
I wish to be under the more Immediate care and direction of D 
King and D' Lawrence, & that they will be pleased to exert their 
influence to place the said young Persons in some Military Corps 
or other Service as may best suit their dispositions & Capacities, 
Praying God to bless their endeavours. Signed and sealed as a 
Codicil to my Will or a Confirmation and Explanation thereof 
agreeably to the Note which some days ago I put to the end of it. 
This 29*'' January 1797. Edm : Burke, in the presence of — Walker 
King — Rich- Bourke — Ed : Nagle." 

Will of Queen Cabolinb 

The will of Queen Caroline was drawn up by her directions on 
Sunday, the 5th day of August, 1821, within a few days of her 
death. It appears that on this same day she sent for the under- 
taker, by name Busch, to measure her for her coflSn. Finding he 
did not come, she, a second time, ordered a servant to go for him, 
and then gave precise orders desiring it might be made of cedar- 
wood, and that it should bear this inscription : 

CAROLINE OF BRUNSWICK, 

Born 17th May, 1768, 

Died 7th August, 1821. 

Aged 54. 

The outraged Queen of England. 

This desire she again mentioned by a special codicil to her will. 

As the remains of this princess were to be buried at Brunswick, 
on the arrival of the coffin at Colchester, it was deposited in the 
chapel for the night, with a guard of honor to watch it. During 
this time, it appears, the executors, and some others who formed 
the cortege in attendance — Lord Hood, Sir Robert Wilson, Count 
Vassali, Messrs. Lushington, Wilde, and others — managed to in- 
troduce themselves into the chapel by night, and caused the plate 
in question to be nailed on. 

On the following morning, however, much to the discomfiture 
of these gentlemen, and notwithstanding their protestations, this 
was removed and was replaced by the following, drawn up by an 
heraldic council and approved by the Government : 

"Depositum serenissimse principissse Carolinse Ameliae Eliza- 
bethse, Dei gratis reginae consortis augustissimse, potentissimi 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 267 

monarchse Georgii quarti, Dei gratis Britanniarum regis, fidei 
defensoris, regis Hanovrise ac Bninsvici et Luneburgi ducis. Obiit 
vii. die mensis Augusti, Anno Domini mdcccxxi. setatis liv." 
And it so remains. 

Will of Lobd Chestebfield 

One of the most prominent of those whose wills were proved in 
1773 was the "great" Lord Chesterfield, the arbiter on all matters 
of politeness, whose famous "Advice to his Son" was so summarily 
criticised by Dr. Johnson. This "first gentleman in Europe" 
of his day, left the bulk of his property to his godson, Philip 
Stanhope, with a very unfashionable and unpalatable restriction : 
"The several devises and bequests hereinbefore and hereinafter 
given by me to and in favour of my said godson PhUip Stanhope, 
shall be subject to the condition and restriction hereinafter men- 
tioned ; that is to say, that, in case my said godson Philip Stanhope 
shall at any time hereafter keep, or be concerned in the keeping of, 
any race-horse or race-horses, or pack or packs of hounds, or reside 
one night at Newmarket, that infamous seminary of iniquity and 
ill-manners during the course of the races there, or shall resort 
to the said races, or shall lose in any one day at any game or bet 
whatsoever the sum of £500, then, and in any of the cases aforesaid, 
it is my express Will, that he my said godson shall forfeit and pay 
out of my estate the sum of £5000 to and for the use of the Dean 
and Chapter of Westminster, for every such offence or misdemean- 
our as is above specified, to be recovered by action for debt in any 
of his Majesty's Courts of Record at Westminster." 

Will of John Dbtden 

John Dryden, of Ashbye, Northampton, died in 1684. He left 
the following curious preamble to his will : 

"I, John Dryden, of Ashbye, in the county of Northampton, 
gentleman, doe make and ordeyne my last will and testament in 
manner following : First, I bequeathe my soule to Almightie God 
my Creator, by the merits of whose son Jesus Christe, my Savior 
and Redeemer, I doe believe to be saved, the Holy Ghost assuring 
my spirit that I am the elect of God. My bodie to be buried in 
the church of Ashbye, and although I doe not allow of pompe in 
burialls, yet, for some reasonable considerations, I will that the 
stone I have allready prepared shall be layde upon my grave, and 



268 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

my arms and my wyve's graven in brass thereupon. Notwith- 
standing, if God call mee far from Ashbye, then should it yet be 
thought necessary to my executors to bring me hither, I refer that 
to their discressions, and soe doe I the place of my buriall, whether 
in the place aforesaiyde or in the churchyard, or els in the church." 

Will of Edwaed IV 

It is almost certain that Edward IV left a will, but it has never 
been discovered. The editors of the royal wills rationally con- 
jecture that it was destroyed during the usurpation of his brother, 
Richard III, as it has never been found. 



Will of Sib Charles Fellowes 

Sir Charles Fellowes, the author and antiquarian, died in 1860. 
He left by his will Milton's watch to the British Museum. His 
wife, who died in March, 1874, left her collection of watches 
(many of which had belonged to celebrities) to the same institution. 

Will of Lord Edward Fitzgerald 

The will of this unfortunate nobleman was made under very 
singular circumstances, after he was mortally wounded in the 
desperate struggle with Major Sirr, and while in confinement in 
Newgate, Dublin, where, whatever his political errors, he seems to 
have been treated with needless severity. 

"Even for the purpose of drawing up his will, which he wrote 
on the 26th May, 1798," says Moore, "no person at all connected 
with his own family was allowed to have access to him, and Mr. 
John Leeson, who executed the instrument, sat in a carriage at the 
door of the prison, while Mr. Stewart, the government surgeon, 
communicated between him and the prisoner during the trans- 
action." 

"I, Lord Edward Fitzgerald, do make this as my last will and 
testament, hereby revoking all others ; that is to say, I leave all 
estates, of whatever sort I may die possessed of, to my wife. Lady 
(Pamela) Fitzgerald, as a mark of my esteem, love, and confidence 
in her, for and during her natural life, and on her death to descend, 
share and share alike, to my children, or the survivors of them; 
she maintaining and educating the children according to her dis- 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 269 

cretion ; and I constitute her the executrix of this my last will and 
testament. 

"Signed, sealed, and delivered. May the 26, 1798. 

"In presence of Alexander Lindsay. 

" George Stewart. 
"Samuel Stone." 

Will of Garrick 

David Garrick, who was born at Hereford in 1716, was origi- 
nally intended for business, and consequently was sent to an uncle 
settled at Lisbon as a merchant, but showing no aptitude for this 
calling nor yet for the law, to which he applied himself subsequently, 
he plunged into the life of a comedian, and first appeared at Ips- 
wich in 1741. In October of the same year, however, he came out 
in London, and obtained great success at one of the small theaters 
in the character of Richard III. In 1742 he went to Dublin, where 
he was enthusiastically received, and thence returned to London, 
where his fame and fortune were shortly made. At length, in 
1747, he was able to purchase Drury Lane Theatre, obtained a 
renewal of its privileges, and retained the management for nearly 
twenty years ; for on the 10th of June, 1776, he took leave of the 
public, and retired after obtaining £2200 for what had originally 
cost him £320. His withdrawal from the stage was universally 
and profoundly deplored; he only survived his retirement three 
years, but he died full of honors and possessed of considerable 
wealth. His death took place in London on Wednesday, 20th of 
January, 1779. 

The stir made by his funeral was surprising, but scarcely greater 
than that produced in Paris a century later, at the interment of 
Dejazet : the procession was formed by seventy mourning-coaches, 
twenty-four of which were filled by the Slite of English society. 
Arrived at Westminster Abbey, the corpse was met by the Chapter ; 
the Bishop of Rochester officiated, and the remains of Garrick were 
interred close to the monument of Shakespeare. 

There is nothing remarkable in his will, which disposes of his 
fortune in a spirit of fairness, liberality, and benevolence. It was 
made the year previous to his death : 

"I, David Garrick, at this present occupying my house in the 
Adelphi, do deposit in the hands of Lord Camden, of the Right 
Hon. Richard Rigby, of John Patterson, and of Albany Wallis, 
Esquires, my house at Hampton-on-the-Thames, in the county of 



270 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Middlesex, with the two islands dependent thereon, the temple and 
the statue of Shakespeare, my house in the Adelphi, with the furni- 
ture and pictures contained in the two said houses, to be delivered 
up to Eva Maria Garrick, my wife, in order that she may enjoy the 
same during her natural life, and that she may reside there. 

"I give and bequeath to my said wife all my linen, plate, 
china, horses, carriages, and wine that may be contained in my 
cellars in both my houses. 

"I give her furthermore £1000, payable immediately after my 
decease, and £5000 payable a year after. 

" I give and bequeath to my said wife £1500 per annum dur- 
ing the term of her natural life, and as long as she shall reside in 
either of my before-mentioned houses, and £1000 should she quit 
England and settle whether in Scotland or Ireland. 

" I give and bequeath to my nephew, David Garrick, the dwell- 
ing-house, farms, garden, and tenements and lands situated at 
Hampton, save and except that bequeathed to my wife. 

"I deposit in the hands of my said executors the freehold of 
Hendon, with my right and patronage over the church of the 
said freehold, with directions to sell it, and to employ the produce 
according to my hereinafter-mentioned desires. 

" I give, after the decease of my wife, the statue of Shakespeare 
and my collection of old plays to the British Museum. 

"I give to my nephew, Carrington Garrick, the rest of my 
library, with the exception of books to the value of £100 in favour 
of my wife and at her choice. 

"I give to the institution established for the reKef of impov- 
erished actors, the houses I bought along with Dniry Lane 
Theatre. 

" I give to my brother, George Garrick, £10,000 ; to my brother 
Peter, £3000 ; to my nephew Carrington Garrick, £6000 ; to my 
nephew David Garrick, besides the dowry I agreed to pay him 
on the day of his marriage, the sum of £5000. 

"I deposit in the hands of my executors the sum of £6000 
in favour of my niece Arabella Shaw, wife of Captain Shaw. 

"I give to my niece, Catherine Garrick, the sum of £6000, to be 
paid to her on the day on which she shall marry or attain her 
majority. 

" I give to my sister, Mercia Doxey, the sum of £5000 ; and to the 
niece of my wife actually residing with us at Hampton, the sum of 
£1000. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 271 

"Should the above-named legacies exceed the fund assigned to 
their payment, each legatee shall submit to a reduction in his 
legacy, proportioned to its amount, until the death of my wife; 
after that event, and on the sale of Hampton, the sums thus with- 
held shall be made up out of the amount produced by that sale. 

"Should there, on the other hand, be more than sufficient to 
cover these legacies, I will that such surplus be divided in equal 
portions among my nearest relations according to the order ob- 
served with those who die intestate. 

"In pursuance of this my last will, I name the within-mentioned 
my executors, and in token thereof I here sign and seal this docu- 
ment with my arms this 24th day of September, 1778. 

"(Signed) David Gahkick. 
"Sic transit gloria mundi."' 

By this testament it appears that David Garrick, the portion- 
less son of a half-pay captain, had earned by his own unaided 
talents a fortune amounting in money to nearly £50,000, besides 
his superb estate at Hampton, with its islands, farms, orchards, 
and appurtenances ; his property at Hendon ; his houses in Lon- 
don; the theatre at Drury Lane; his costly furniture, valuable 
plate, china, wines, library, statues, pictures, and other works of 
art, horses, carriages, etc. 

When we compare this splendid fortune with that of Shakespeare, 
who could only leave to his wife his "second best bed, with the 
furniture," we are tempted to wonder why the fickle goddess 
should have so much more highly favored him who exhibited the 
fruits of genius than him who produced them. 

Will of Lobd Hailes 

Lord Hailes (Sir David Dalrymple), a Lord of Session, appointed 
in 1766, died in 1792, apparently without a will. Great search 
was made, no testamentary paper could be discovered, the heir-at- 
law was about to take possession of his estates, to the exclusion of 
his daughter and only child, and Miss Dalrymple prepared to 
retire from New Hailes, and from the mansion-house in New Street. 
Some of her domestics, however, were sent to lock up the house in 
New Street, and, in closing the window-shutters, there dropped out 
upon the floor, from behind a panel. Lord Hailes' will, which was 
found to secure her in the possession of his estates. 



272 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Will of Thomas Hood, the Poet 

" Devonshire Lodge, New Finchlet Road, 

" St. John's Wood, February 7th, 1845. 

" It is my last Will and desire that 'Nash's Hall's' be given, in 
my name, to my dear William and Georgiana Elliot, in recognition 
of their brotherly and sisterly affection and kindness. 

" My 'Knight's Shakspeare's,' for a like reason, to dear Robert 
Elliot. 

" 'Chaucer or Froissart,' as he may prefer, to F. Reseigh Ward, 
Harvey, Phillips, and Hardman, to select a book apiece for re- 
membrance. 

" 'Nimrod's Sporting' to Philip de Franck. 
" AU else that I possess, I give and bequeath to my dear wife, to 
be used for her benefit and that of our dear children, whom God 
bless, guide and preserve. 

" With my farewell love and blessing, 
" To all friends, 

" Thomas Hood." 
Will of Lord Howden 

Hamilton v. Delias. — Before Vice-Chancellor Sir James Bacon. 
— The loss, vexation, and complexity so frequently occasioned by 
intestacy, was in a partial measure manifested by the lapse in the 
will of the late Lord Howden, and serves in good stead to show how 
guarded persons should be to see, not only that they leave a properly 
prepared and executed will, but likewise that no lapse is left un- 
supplied. In the case of Lord Howden, although the lapse was 
only trifling, considering the vast wealth of his lordship, yet it was 
represented by a considerable amount. The case is a very curious 
one, as Lord Howden held a very high status in England, being a 
peer of the realm, and had taken the oath and his seat in the House 
of Lords; he was also a G.C.B., lieutenant-general in the army, 
and Deputy-Lieutenant for the County of York. Notwithstand- 
ing all these ties, in 1850 he sold his estate at Grimston Park, in 
Yorkshire, and all his real estate in England, and went to Spain 
as Minister Plenipotentiary, in which position he continued till 
1857, when he went to France, and resided on an estate near Ba- 
yonne, which he acquired about that time, and where he built a 
chAteau called "Casa Caradoc," in which he generally resided up 
to the date of his death. In 1863 he visited Scotland, and then 



ANCIENT. CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 273 

wrote a letter declining to come to England, and expressing his 
intention of never doing so again; he likewise, in certain legal 
proceedings taken in England, claimed to be domiciled in 
France, sine animo revertendi. Lord Howden had made separate 
wills relating to his personal property in England and in France, 
and the confusion arose respecting one-fourth of that in England, 
the person to whom it had been bequeathed having died during 
his lordship's lifetime. The question was to whom this undisposed 
of personalty should belong, as by English law the whole of it would 
pass to Lady Rose Meade, as his lordship's nearest relation and sole 
next-of-kin, whUe, according to French law, a moiety only would 
pass to Lady Rose Meade, who was his lordship's nearest relation 
on the father's side, and the other moiety amongst his lordship's 
nearest relations on the mother's side. The case therefore rested 
on the point, whether Lord Howden's domicile was English or 
French at the time of his death, and the Vice-Chancellor said that, 
in the absence of authority, he shoidd be sorry at this time of day 
to decide that a peer could not take up his permanent residence 
abroad. There was nothing to prevent any one, be he peer or 
peasant, from leaving the country to reside abroad. He then dis- 
tinguished the cases of persons actually officers in the army, and 
the cases known of an Anglo-Indian domicile. On the facts, he 
said, it was clear that Lord Howden had acted so as to acquire a 
French domicile. There was only the question of the article in 
the Code Napoleon, which clearly only related to the acquisition 
of civil rights, and not the question of domicile at all. He there- 
fore declared the domicile of Lord Howden to have been French. 

Will of Db. Samuel Johnson 

Dr. Samuel Johnson is one of the foremost figm-es in English 
literature ; his will, copied by Boswell, is an interesing document : 

"In the name of God, Amen ! I, Samuel Johnson, being in full 
possession of my faculties, but fearing this night may put an end 
to my life, do ordain this my last will and testament." 

This will was written the 8 day of December, 1784. Sir John 
Hawkins and the distinguished painter, Sir Joshua Reynolds, were 
executors. A codicil written on December 9, 1784, is several times 
the length of the will written the day before. Both in the will 
and in the codicil, Francis Barber, a negro man-servant, is made the 
chief beneficiary. It is said that the amount received by Barber 



274 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

under this will, exclusive of an annuity on the sum of $3750, 
was about ten thousand dollars. A copy of his great French dic- 
tionary, as well as a copy of his own dictionary, were given to Sir 
Joshua Reynolds. A striking provision in Johnson's will, is the 
following clause : 

"I bequeath to God, a soul polluted by many 
sins, but I hope purified by Jesus Christ." 

The celebrated letter written by Dr. Johnson to Lord' Chester- 
field, from a point of combined politeness, satire, and irony, has 
probably never been surpassed, and was doubtless a just resentment 
of the treatment he had received from his patron. The date of this 
letter is given by BosweD and other authorities, as February 7, 
1775 ; the true date is 1755, for it was in that year that his Dic- 
tionary was completed. A brief history of this letter is as follows : 

Boswell in his "Life of Johnson," says the story was current 
that the great philosopher was kept waiting in Lord Chesterfield's 
antechamber upon the occasion of a visit to him ; that Dr. John- 
son was violently provoked when the door finally opened, and out 
walked CoUey Gibber, an English actor and dramatist. Johnson 
himself, however, told Boswell that there was no truth in this story, 
but that during his years of struggle, Lord Chesterfield had studi- 
ously neglected him. When the Dictionary was on the eve of pub- 
lication, Lord Chesterfield attempted, in a courtly manner, to 
conciliate Dr. Johnson by writing two articles in The World, a 
leading London paper, in commendation of the work ; the courtly 
device failed of its efiFect. 

Johnson said to Boswell, "Sir, after making great professions, 
he had, for many years, taken no notice of me ; but when my Dic- 
tionary was coming out, he fell a scribbling in The World about it. 
Upon which I wrote him a letter expressed in civil terms, but such 
as might show him that I did not mind what he said or wrote, and 
that I had done with him." And, he added, "This man, I thought 
had been a lord among wits, but I find, he is only a wit among 
lords." The letter follows : 

"To THE Right Honoubable the Eabl of Chesterfield 

"February 7, 1755. 
"My Lord, 

"I have been lately informed, by the proprietor of The World, 
that two papers, in which my Dictionary is recommended to the 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 275 

public, were written by your lordship. To be so distinguished is 
an honour, which, being very little accustomed to favours from the 
great, I know not well how to receive, or in what terms to acknowl- 
edge. 

"When, upon some slight encouragement, I first visited your 
lordship, I was overpowered, like the rest of mankind, by the 
enchantment of your address, and could not forbear to wish that I 
might boast myself Le vainqueur du vainqueur de la terre; — that I 
might obtain that regard for which I saw the world contending; 
but I found my attendance so little encouraged, that neither pride 
nor modesty would suffer me to continue it. When I had once 
addressed your lordship in public, I had exhausted all the art of 
pleasing which a retired and uncourtly scholar can possess. I had 
done all that I could ; and no man is well pleased to have his all 
neglected, be it ever so little. 

"Seven years, my lord, have now passed, since I waited in your 
outward rooms, or was repulsed from your door; during which 
time I have been pushing on my work through difficulties, of which 
it is useless to complain, and have brought it, at last, to the verge 
of publication, without one act of assistance, one word of encour- 
agement, or one smile of favour. Such treatment I did not expect, 
for I never had a patron before. 

"The shepherd in 'Virgil' grew at last acquainted with Love, and 
found him a native of the rocks. 

"Is not a patron, my lord, one who looks with unconcern on a 
man struggling for life in the water, and, when he has reached 
ground, encumbers him with help ? The notice which you have 
been pleased to take of my labours, had it beep early, had been 
kind; but it has been delayed till I am indifferent, and cannot 
enjoy it ; till I am solitary, and cannot impart it ; till I am known, 
and do not want it. I hope it is no very cynical asperity, not to 
confess obligations where no benefit has been received, or to be 
unwilling that the public should consider me as owing that to a 
patron, which Providence has enabled me to do for myself. 

"Having carried on my work thus far with so little obligation to 
any favourer of learning, I shall not be disappointed though I 
shall conclude it, if less be possible, with less ; for I have been long 
wakened from that dream of hope, in which I once boasted myself 
with so much exultation, 

"My Lord, your lordship's most humble, 

"Most obedient servant, 

"Sam. Johnson." 



276 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Will of Mb. Geobge Henht Lewes 

The will, dated November 21, 1859, of Mr. George Henry 
Lewes, the celebrated author, formerly of Holly Lodge, South 
Fields, Wandsworth, but late of The Priory, North Bank, Begent's 
Park, who died on November 20, 1879, was proved by Mary 
Ann Evans, the sole executrix, the personal estate being sworn 
under £2000. The testator gives to his three sons, Charles Lee, 
Thornton Amott, and Herbert Arthur, all his copyright and inter- 
est of every description in all his literary and dramatic works, and 
the residue of his real and personal estate to his executrix. 

Will of Maria Ckistina, Queen Dowageb of Spain 

The will (dated 1874), with a codicil (dated 1875), both made in 
Paris, of her Majesty the Queen Dona Maria Cristina de Borbon 
y Borbon, who died on August 22, 1879, in France, was proved in 
London. The personal estate in England is sworn under £6000. 
The testatrix directs that 5000 recited masses shall be performed for 
her soul, 5000 for the soul of her late husband, 1000 for the souls of 
her deceased children, and 500 for the souls of her deceased grand- 
children, to be performed by poor priests in churches to be selected 
by her executors, the alms for each mass to be ten reals. She be- 
queaths money to the needy poor and sick of several towns. Spe- 
cial directions are given as to her numerous papers ; they are divided 
into four classes, viz. her business papers, political papers, confiden- 
tial papers, and intimate private papers ; her secretary, Don An- 
tonio Maria Rubio, is charged with the arranging of them, and he is 
to deliver the papers of the first three categories, sealed up, to her 
son, Don Fernando, and the papers of the last-named category to 
her daughter. Dona Maria Cristina, also sealed up ; they are not 
to be opened until the expiration of forty years from her decease, 
and the testatrix states that she so orders not for her own sake or 
from any want of confidence in her children, but with views of 
delicacy towards the many persons she has had political relation- 
ship with during her long and checkered career. If upon examina- 
tion any papers are found among her own property belonging to her 
first husband, or the Government of Spain, they are to be delivered 
to her august daughter, the Queen Isabella, for eventual transmis- 
sion to the successor of her first husband in the crown of Spain, 
"say her grandson King Alfonso." 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 277 

Will of Michael Eyquem de Montaigne 

Montaigne, the celebrated essayist and philosopher, is stated to 
have got over any difficulties in the way of carrying out his testa- 
mentary intentions by the happy expedient of calling all the per- 
sons named in his will around Ids deathbed, and counting out to 
them severally the bequests he had made them. Any doubtful 
testator might usefully follow Montaigne's example, but there 
is always the risk of the donor getting better, and finding himself 
penniless. A small farmer in Suffolk, England, being very ill, 
was advised by his affectionate relatives to distribute his money, 
and thus save legacy duty. He did so, but got well again ; he did 
not, however, recover the amount he had distributed, and the poor 
old farmer had to seek relief from the parish. 

Will of Napoleon 

In Scott's "Life of Napoleon Buonaparte," published in 1828, is 
a complete copy of this celebrated document, the first division of 
which is as follows : 

"Napoleon. 

"This 15th April, 1821, at Longwood, Island of St. Helena. 
This is my Testament, or act of my last Will. 



"1. I die in the apostolical Roman religion, in the bosom of 
which I was born, more than fifty years since. 

"2. It is my wish that my ashes may repose on the banks of the 
Seine, in the midst of the French people, whom I have loved so well. 

" 3. I have always had reason to be pleased with my dearest 
wife, Marie Louise. I retain for her to my last moment, the most 
tender sentiments — I beseech her to watch, in order to preserve 
my son from the snares which yet environ his infancy. 

" 4. I recommend to my son, never to forget that he was born 
a French prince, and never to allow himself to become an instru- 
ment in the hands of the triumvirs who oppress the nations of 
Europe ; he ought never to fight against France, or to injure her in 
any manner ; he ought to adopt my motto — * Everything for the 
French people.' 

" 5. I die prematurely, assassinated by the English oligarchy. 
. . . The English nation will not be slow in avenging me. 



278 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

"6. The two unfortunate results of the invasions of France when 
she had still so many resources, are to be attribiited to the treason 
of Marmont, Augerau, Talleyrand and La Fayette. 

" I forgive them — may the posterity of France forgive them like 
me ! 

"7. I thank my good and most excellent mother, the Cardinal, 
my brothers Joseph, Lucien, Jerome, Pauline, Caroline, Julie, 
Hortense, Catarine, Eugenie, for the interest which they have 
continued to feel for me. I pardon Louis for the libel which he 
published in 1820 ; it is replete with false assertions and falsified 
documents. 

"8. I disavow the ' Manuscript of St. Helena,' and other works, 
under the title of Maxims, Sayings, &c., which persons have been 
pleased to publish for the last six years. These are not the rules 
which have guided my life. I caused the Due d'Enghien to be 
arrested and tried, because that step was essential to the safety, 
interest, and honor of the French people, when the Count d'Artois 
was maintaining, by his confession, sixty assassins at Paris. Under 
similar circumstances, I would act in the same way." 

In the second division of the will are thirty-five bequests to 
Buonaparte's generals and others who had been associated with him 
the whole amounting to five million six hundred thousand francs. 
He says, "These sums wiU be raised from the six millions which I 
deposited on leaving Paris in 1815 ; and from the interest, at the 
rate of five per cent, since July, 1815." He further directs that 
the excess of five million six hundred thousand francs shall be dis- 
tributed as a gratuity amongst the wounded at the battle of Water- 
loo, and others of his soldiers ; the amounts to be paid, in case of 
death, to the widows and children of the legatees. 

In the third division, he speaks of his "private domain of which 
no French law can deprive me." This "private domain," he es- 
timates to exceed 200,000,000 of francs. This amount, together 
with his plate, jewels and other property, he bequeaths, one-half 
to the surviving officers and soldiers of the French army who had 
fought for the glory and independence of the nation ; the distribu- 
tion to be made in proportion to their appointments in active ser- 
vice. He appoints Counts Montholon, Bertrand and Marchand 
the executors of his will. 

The instrument concludes : "This present will, wholly written 
with my own hand, is signed, and sealed with my own arms." 

Affixed to this will is a codicil consisting of many parts and nu- 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 279 

merous items, such as would well befit the great Emperor to possess. 
The minutest detail is shown in an itemized statement of these arti- 
cles. Among others, might be mentioned, medals, watches, gold 
ornaments, spurs, libraries, cravats, daggprs, and hundreds of other 
articles. He directed Marchand to preserve his hair, from which 
bracelets were to be made, to be sent to the Empress Marie Louise, 
to his mother, brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, to the Cardinal, 
and one of larger size to his son. In this codicil he again expresses 
the wish that his ashes should repose on the banks of the Seine in 
the midst of the French people whom he loved so well. 

In the fourth codicil. Napoleon gives ten thousand francs to the 
subaltern officer Cantillon, who had undergone a trial on the 
charge of having endeavored to assassinate the Duke of Welling- 
ton, of which he was pronounced innocent. Napoleon writes, " Can- 
tillon had as much right to assassinate that oligarchist, as the latter 
had to send me to perish upon the rock of St. Helena." 

In the fifth codicil to the will is a reference to Empress Marie 
Louise, "my very dear and well beloved spouse." He adds, "This 
is my codicil, or act of my last will, the execution of which I recom- 
mend to my dearest wife, the Empress Marie Louise." 

There are seven codicils to this wiU, all written at Longwood, by 
his own hand, the last being dated the 25th day of April, 1821. 
Ten days after writing this codicil, he died. May 5, 1821. 

Napoleon's deep affection for his son, Frangois Charles, is evi- 
denced throughout the will by numerous bequests, comprising the 
greater part of his personal belongings and articles that he most 
prized. 

He also evinced great solicitude for his generals and those who 
were with him in his many campaigns, which is manifested by the 
gifts to them, not only in his will, but in several of the codicils 
thereto. 

The instrument, though of the very greatest interest, is too 
lengthy to be fully set out. The reader is referred to Scott's "Life 
of Napoleon Buonaparte" for the details of this famous will. 
The death of the Duke of Reichstadt, July 22, 1832, only son of 
the first Napoleon, left Louis Napoleon the representative of his 
family. He was elected President of France in 1848 and promised 
to restore its glories. It is said that many of the legacies mentioned 
in his uncle's will were paid by him. 



280 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Will of Lord Nelson 

The battle of Trafalgar was fought October 21, 1805. At day- 
light Nelson hoisted the signal, "England expects every man to 
do his duty," and gave 'the order to close in and the game of 
death began. Each side had made a move. Nelson retired to his 
cabin and wrote the following codicil to his will : 

" October 21st, 1805. — In sight of the combined fleets of France 
and Spain, distance about ten miles. Whereas the eminent ser- 
vices of Emma Hamilton, widow of the Right Honourable Sir 
William Hamilton, have been of the very greatest service to my 
king and country, to my knowledge, without ever receiving any 
reward from either our king or country. First: That she ob- 
tained the King of Spain's letter, in 1796, to his brother, the King of 
Naples, acquainting him of his intention to declare war against 
England: from which letter the ministry sent out orders to the 
then Sir John Jervis to strike a stroke, if the opportunity offered, 
against either the arsenals of Spain or her fleets. That neither of 
these was done is not the fault of Lady Hamilton: the oppor- 
tunity might have been offered. 

" Secondly : The British fleet under my command could never 
have returned the second time in Egypt, had not Lady Hamilton's 
influence with the Queen of Naples caused a letter to be written to 
the Governor of Syracuse, that he was to encourage the fleet 
being supplied with everything, should they put into any port in 
Sicily. We put into Syracuse, and received every supply ; went to 
Egypt and destroyed the French fleet. Could I have rewarded 
these services, I would not now call upon my country ; but as that 
has not been in my power, I leave Emma, Lady Hamilton, there- 
fore, a legacy to my king and country, that they will give her an 
ample provision to maintain her rank in life. 

" I also leave to the beneficence of my country my daughter, 
Horatia Nelson Thompson ; and I desire she wiU use in future the 
name of Nelson only. 

" These are the only favours I ask of my king and country, at this 
moment when I am going to fight their battle. May God bless my 
king, and country, and all those I hold dear ! « -.^ 

„ ^. JHenky Blockwood. 

witness 1^ ^ Haedt." 

Shortly after, while his ship, the Victory, was grappled with the 
Redoubtable and chained fast to her, Nelson was struck by a musket 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 281 

ball fired from the yards of the Redoubtable. He called for his 
trusted captain, Hardy, and said: "They have done for me now. 
Hardy — my back is broken." And soon after, he died ; but not 
before adding, "I would like to live one hour, just to know that my 
plans were right — we must capture or destroy twenty of them." 
There is a splendid monument to Nelson in Trafalgar Square, 
London, but the English did not respect his wishes with reference 
to Lady Hamilton. As a matter of fact, she was arrested on a 
charge of debt and imprisoned, and practically driven out of 
England, although the sisters of Lord Nelson beheved in her and 
respected her to the last. She died in France in 1813. The daugh- 
ter, Horatia Nelson, lived until 1881. She was a strong and excel- 
lent woman ; she married the Reverend Philip Ward, of Teventer, 
Kent, and raised a family of nine children. One of her sons moved 
to America and made his mark upon the stage and also in letters. 

Will of Florence Nightingale 

"Rich in honors," says the New York World, Florence Nightin- 
gale died "leaving the world, which had paid tribute to her as it 
has to few women, her debtor." She was known by the various 
names of "The Lady-in-Chief," "The Lady with the Lamp," "The 
Lady of the Crimea," in reference to the service she rendered Great 
Britain and the world on the battle-fields of the Crimean War. 

Longfellow wrote of her : 

"On England's annals through the long 
Hereafter of her speech and song 

That light its rays shall cast 

From portals of the past. 
A lady with a lamp shall stand 
In the great history of the land 

A noble type of good, 

Heroic womanhood." 

The lamp referred to is the nurse's lamp with which she used to 
make her nocturnal rounds of the hospitals when all was silent. 

She was born in Florence, Italy, May 12, 1820, of wealthy, 
English parents, and died at her home in England, August 14, 
1910. She was given the name of the place of her birth. 

Her will, recently taken from the Records of Somerset House, 
London, is in the following words: 



282 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

" I, Florence Nightingale, Spinster, declare this to be my last 
Will, revoking all wills by me heretofore executed. 

"1. I appoint my Cousins, Henry Bonham Carter, Esquire, 
Samuel Shore Nightingale and Louis Hilary Shore Nightingale, 
Esquires (sons of my late Cousin, William Shore Nightingale), and 
Arthur Hugh Clough, Esquire, to be the executors of this my 
Will. 

" 2. I give my executors all my books, papers (whether manu- 
scripts or printed) and letters relating to my Indian work (together 
with the two stones for Irrigation maps of India at Mr. Stanford's, 
Charing Cross, and also the woodcut blocks for illustrations of 
those works at Messrs. Spottiswoodes), upon trust, in their abso- 
lute discretion or in that of the survivors or survivor of them to 
publish or prepare for publication such part, if any, as they or the 
majority of them for the time being may think fit, and I give them 
a sum of two hundred and fifty pounds for those purposes. And 
without limiting the exercise of such discretion I should wish my 
executors to consult my friend. Sir WilHam Wedderbum,in the 
matter of such publication. And I declare that if my executors, 
within three years from my death, have taken no, or only partial, 
steps to publish or before that time have decided not to publish 
anything, the said sum of two hundred and fifty pounds, or any 
unexpended part thereof, shall fall into the residue of my estate. 
And subject to the foregoing, I authorize my executors to destroy 
all or any of the above mentioned books and papers, stones and 
blocks or otherwise to dispose of the same as they may think fit. 

" 3. I bequeath to the children of my late dear friend, Arthur 
Hugh Clough and his widow, my Cousin, Blanch Mary Shore 
Clough, the sum of seven thousand pounds to be divided between 
them in the following proportions : 

" To the said Arthiu- Hugh Clough two thousand pounds ; 

" To Blanch Athena Clough two thousand five hundred pounds, 
and to Florence Anne Mary Clough two thousand five hundred 
pounds. I bequeath to each of them, the said Samuel Shore 
Nightingale and Louis Hilary Shore Nightingale, the sum of three 
thousand five hundred pounds. To each of them, Rosalind Frances 
Mary Nash and Margaret Thyra Barbara Shore Nightingale 
(daughters of my said late Cousin, WilUam Shore Nightingale) 
the sum of one thousand five hundred pounds. I bequeath five 
hundred pounds to the said Henry Bonham Carter as a tiny sign 
of my gratitude for his wise and unfailing exertions in connection 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 283 

with our Training Schools for Nurses, and also the portraits of Sir 
Bartle Frere Mohl Hallam Bunsen and the Sidney Herberts. 
And I also give to him a further legacy of one thousand three 
hundred pounds for his objects, and to Joanna Frances Bonham 
Carter a legacy of one hundred pounds. I give to Francis Galton 
two thousand pounds for certain purposes and I declare that the 
same shall be paid in priority to all other bequests given by my 
Will for charitable or other purposes. I give one hundred pounds 
to Mary Ureth Frederica, the daughter of WiUiam Bacheler Colt- 
man and Bertha EUzabeth Shore Coltman, his wife, and fifty 
pounds to each of their sons, William Hew Coltman and Thomas 
Lister Coltman. I bequeath th ee hundred pounds to J. I. Fred- 
erick, Esquire, Secretary of the Army Sanitary Commission, three 
himdred pounds to Sir Douglas Galton of Chester Street, London. 
I bequeath one hundred pounds each to Mary and Emily, daughters 
of the late Dr. William Farr of the General Register OfiBce; two 
hundred and fifty pounds to Mother Stanislaus, Reverend Mother 
of the Hospital Sisters in Great Ormond Street, for her objects; 
one hundred pounds to John Croft, Esquire, late Instructor of the 
Nightingale Training School at St. Thomas' Hospital, and two 
hundred and fifty pounds to the Mother Superior at the time of 
my death of the Devonport Sisters of Mercy. I direct my execu- 
tors to purchase out of my estate an annuity of sixty pounds on 
the life of Miss Crossland, late 'Home Sister' of the Nightingale 
Training School at St. Thomas' Hospital. And also an annuity 
of thirty pounds on the life of Miss Vincent, now Matron of St. 
Marylebone Infirmary. And I bequeath to each of those ladies 
respectively the annuity so purchased on her life absolutely : each 
annuity to commence from the date of my decease. I bequeath 
one hundred pounds to Miss Styring, now Matron of Paddington 
Infirmary ; one hundred pounds to Miss Spencer, now Lady Super- 
intendent of Edinburgh Royal Infirmary ; one hundred pounds to 
Madame Caroline Werckner, who nursed the French Prisoners in the 
Franco-German War at Breslau (now at Lymington) ; one hundred 
pounds to the daughters of Margaret, wife of Sir Edmund Vemey, 
in equal shares; one hundred pounds to the daughters of Fred- 
erick W. Verney (youngest son of the late Sir Harry Vemey) 
in equal shares ; Five hundred pounds to Pauhna Irby of Serajevo, 
Bosnia, for her objects ; One hundred and fifty pounds to Peter 
Grillage (from Balaclava) and Temperance, his wife, whose maiden 
name was Hatcher, now at Ridgway, Plympton, Devon, to be 



284 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

equally divided between them and in case one of them should 
predecease me the survivor to take the whole; Fifty pounds to 
Fanny Dowding now McCarthy, formerly in my service; One 
hundred pounds to Robert Robinson now residing at 101 West 
Street, Grimsbury, Banbury; One hundred and seventy five 
pounds to my servant, EUzabeth Mary Coleman, if living with me 
at the time of my decease, and to Ellen Pearce twenty five pounds 
under the same condition ; One hundred pounds to William Rath- 
bone, Esquire, M.P. as a feeble sign of heartfelt gratitude for his 
unbounded goodness to the cause of Trained Niu"sing and to me; 
Two hundred and fifty pounds to the said Sir William Wedderburn 
for certain purposes ; One hundred poimds to each of my executors 
as an acknowledgment of his trouble in executing the provisions 
of my Will, in addition to any other legacy left to him. I bequeath 
one hundred pounds to Mr. William Yeomans of HoUoway House, 
with thanks for his kindness to the people of HoUoway for me ; I 
leave twenty pounds for a small gold cross or crucifix to be chosen 
by the said Henry Bonham Carter for Miss Pringle, formerly 
Matron of St. Thomas' Hospital. 

" 4. I give and bequeath the following specific legacies (namely), 
the jewels from the Queen and the bracelet from the Sultan and 
the other medals and Orders, together with my engraving of the 
ground round Sebastopol, to the Managers for the time being of 
the Reading Room at Herbert Hospital, or at Netley or at Alder- 
shot or at some other place where soldiers may see them, as my 
executors may in their absolute discretion decide. All my prints, 
framed or otherwise (except those that I may otherwise dispose of), 
and including those of the Queen and Prince Albert given me by 
the Queen at Balmoral, in one thousand eight hundred and fifty 
six, and of Landseer's 'Highland Nurses ' to my executors to be 
distributed by them amongst the Nightingale Training Schools for 
Nurses and those connected with us, in such manner in all respects 
as my executors may in their absolute discretion decide. The 
framed Michael Angelo photographs, the portfolio of Venice photo- 
graphs from Mrs. Bracebridge, the two lovely water colour sketches 
of Embley, and the copy of Turner's 'Rock ' by Louisa Elenor 
Shore Nightingale, my father's watch and spectacles, the book 
case in the drawing room given me by the said William Shore 
Nightingale and Louisa Eleanor, his wife, the portrait of Sir John 
McNeill, the little Soutari clock and the box (Miss Coape's) with 
all the 'stuflE ' in it, i.e. annotated in pencil by Mr. Stuart Mill and 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 285 

Mr. Jowett, with their letters, et cetera, upon it, to the children of 
the said William Shore Nightingale, living at my death, to be 
divided amongst them in such manner as they shall agree upon, and 
in default of agreement as my executors, other than the said 
Samuel Shore Nightingale and Louis Hilary Shore Nightingale, 
shall determine. The cutlery given me by the town of Sheffield 
and any Tallboy or book case or tall stand for papers he may 
choose to the said Samuel Shore Nightingale, The 'Colas ' 
bronze of Sophocles, all copies of the printed three volumes entitled 
'Suggestions for Thought,' the three volumes of Quetelet given me 
by Mr. Quetelet with my M. S. papers in the same parcel, and my 
Dante in three volumes quarto with illustrations, to the said Rosa- 
lind Frances Mary Nash. The sketch of the older Parthe to Mrs. 
Hawthorn, a bookcase or tallboy and the picture of the head of 
Christ with the Crown of Thorns (Nazarene), in my room, to the 
said Louis Hilary Shore Nightingale. The Titian 'Virgin ' with 
the two sides of Angioletti and the (rare) cast of the Avignon 
Crucifix to the said Margaret Thyra Barbara Shore Nightingale. 
To each of them, the said Samuel Shore Nightingale and Louis 
Hilary Shore Nightingale, Rosalind Frances Mary Nash and 
Margaret Thyra Barbara Shore Nightingale, such six of my books 
as they shall select. The picture of Gordon in 'The last Watch' 
to the said Louisa Eleanor Shore Nightingale. The Bible given 
me by Pleasley to the said Frederick W. Verney. The Michael 
Angelo Sistine Chapel ceiling, stretched on two screen poles, and 
my chatelain with the blue seal ring, etc. upon it to the said Bertha 
Elizabeth Shore Coltman. The desk given me by Lea to Beatrice 
Lushington during her life, and after her death to the said Louis 
Hilary Shore Nightingale. The framed 'Nile ' given me by the 
said Henry Bonham Carter and the Models of Highgate Infirmary 
and Chapel made by Patients there to Sibella, the wife of the said 
Henry Bonham Carter. The prints which belonged to dear Hilary, 
namely the Correggio 'Magdalen ' and 'Christ in the Garden,' 
the large Michael Angelo of Isaiah (all framed), also a packet of 
papers of Hilary's (in my despatch box) to be divided between 
Alice Bonham Carter and her sister, EUnor Dicey, or if either of 
them should die before me, all the said articles to the survivor, 
but if neither of them should survive me I direct that the said 
papers shall be burnt. The large framed photograph of her father, 
Sidney Herbert, given me by his wife, to Mary Herbert, now 
Baroness Hugel. The large framed Madonna di San Sisto (with 



286 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

a Kttle secret between us about Gwendolen's likeness) to Maude, 
wife of the said Frederick W. Verney ; such of my blue books. 
War 0£Bce, India and Statistical and Hospital Reports and Books 
as he shall choose to the said J. J. Frederick, and the remainder of 
them to the said Sir Douglas. The volume of Prince Albert's 
speeches given me by the Queen, with her autograph in the book, 
to the said Henry Bonham Carter. The life of the Prince Consort 
given me by the Queen, with her autograph in it, and the Athens 
photograph book given me by Emily Verney to the said Margaret 
Verney. The Illustrated New Testament and Prayer Book to 
my two little Goddaughters, Ruth, child of the said Margaret 
Verney, and Kathleen, child of the said Frederick W. Verney. 
The Roman Cathohc books in EngUsh or French, some of which 
were given me by the Reverend Mother Clare of Bermondsey, 
who died in one thousand eight hundred and seventy four, to the 
said Mother Stanislaus; my Schiller to Miss Shalders, formerly 
Governess to the children of Mrs. Frederick Verney, and to Blanch 
Mary Shore Clough some article to be selected by her out of my 
personal chattels, not subject to other destinations. 

" 5. I give and bequeath all my remaining books, clothes, furni- 
ture, trinkets and personal chattels to my executors, requesting 
them thereout to give some remembrance of me to their children 
and to the children of my deceased' friend, the said Arthur Hugh 
Clough the elder, and Blanch Shore Clough, his widow; the 
children of the said Bertha Elizabeth Shore Coltman, of the said 
Sir Edmund Verney, of the said Frederick W. Verney, of George 
Lloyd Verney and of Henry Bonham Carter and Sibella, his wife ; 
to the widow of the said George Lloyd Verney and to Mr. Burton 
of Lea School. To my beloved and reverend friends, Mr. Charles 
H. Bracebridge and his wife, my more than mother, without whom 
Scutari and my life could not have been and to whom nothmg that 
I could ever say or do would in the least express my thankfulness, 
I should have left some token of my remembrance had they, as I 
expected, survived me. I further request my executors to dis- 
tribute the whole of the remainder of the said articles, including 
the useful furniture and books, amongst the Matrons Home 
Sisters, Ward Sisters, Nurses and Probationers trained by us for 
whom they know me to have a regard, particularly remembering 
the hospital of St. Thomas and of Edinburgh and the Infirmaries 
of St. Marylebone and Paddington, and including the successor 
of Miss Jones, formerly Superior of St. John's, now at 30 Kensing- 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 287 

ton Square. And I declare that the gifts hereinbefore directed 
or authorized to be made by my executors out of the articles afore- 
said shall be entirely in the uncontrolled discretion of my executors, 
both as to selection of the gifts and of the donees, other than those 
mentioned by name. 

" 6. I request that all my letters, papers and manuscripts (with 
the exception of the papers relating to India and the other excep- 
tions hereinbefore contained) may be destroyed without examina- 
tion ; also that the pencil notes in the pages of any religious books 
may be destroyed with the books, and I appeal to the love and 
feeling of my cherished friends and executors and earnestly entreat 
of them entirely to fulfil these my last wishes. 

" 7. I declare that every legacy hereinbefore given to a legatee 
for his (or her) objects, or for certain purposes, shall be considered 
in law as an absolute gift to such legatee and that every power of 
appropriation, user or application, hereinbefore contained shall be 
exerdsible by the legatee on whom the same is conferred without 
any liability to account for its exercise. 

" 8. I direct that all legacies, annuities and bequests given by 
this my Will or any Codicil thereto, whether pecuniary or specific, 
shall be free from duty, which shall be paid out of my residuary 
personal estate. 

" 9. In case any of the children of the said Arthur Hugh Clough, 
the father, or of the said William Shore Nightingale shall die in my 
lifetime, then I give and bequeath the legacy, or legacies (specific 
or pecuniary) hereinbefore given to such child, to his or her chil- 
dren (if any) who shall be living at my death and if more than one 
in equal shares. 

"10. I devise and bequeath aU the residue of my personal estate 
and effects whatsoever and wheresoever and all my real estate of 
every tenure and wheresoever situate unto and to the use of the 
children of the said William Shore Nightingale who shall be living 
at my death, and the child or children then living of any deceased 
child of his absolutely, and if more than one in equal shares, but 
so that the children of any deceased child of his shall take equally 
between them only the share which their parent would have taken 
had he or she survived me. 

"11. I authorize my executors to determine what articles pass 
under any specific bequest contained in this my Will or any Codicil 
hereto and to determine all questions and matters of doubt arising 
under this my Will or any Codicil hereto. And I declare that every 



288 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

such determination, whether made upon a question actually raised 
or implied in the acts or proceedings of my executors, shall be con- 
clusive and binding on aU persons interested under this my Will. 
And I declare that all powers, authorities and discretions thereby 
expressed to be vested in or given to my executors shall be vested 
in and exercisible by the acting executors or executor for the time 
being of this my Will. And I declare that my executors may em- 
ploy the said Louis Hilary Shore Nightingale professionally, if 
they think proper, and that if so employed he shall be entitled to 
charge and be paid all usual professional or other charges for any 
business done by him and whether in the ordinary ccprse of his 
profession or business or not. 

" 12. I give my body for dissection or postmortem examination 
for the purposes of Medical Science and I request that the direc- 
tions about my funeral given by me to my uncle, the late Samuel 
Smith, be observed; my original request was that no memorial 
whatever should mark the place ,where lies my 'Mortal Coil.' 
I much desire this but should the expression of such wish render 
invalid my other wishes, I limit myself to the above mentioned 
directions, praying that my body may be carried to the nearest 
convenient burial ground, accompanied by not more than two 
persons without trappings and that a simple cross, with only my 
initials, date of birth and of death, mark the spot. 

" In witness whereof I have to this my last will and testament 
contained in six sheets of paper set my hand this twenty eighth day 
of July, one thousand eight hundred and ninety six. 

" Florence Nightingale." 

Then follows the attestation clause. There are three codicils 
to this unusual will; the first making slight changes in legacies, 
but of no particular interest to the general reader. 

There are two items in the second codicil worthy of reproduction 
and they are here given : 

"4. I revoke the paragraph numbered 6 of my said will and 
bequeath the letters, papers, manuscripts and books which I 
thereby requested might be destroyed and the majority of which 
I believe should be destroyed, to my said cousin, Henry Bonham 
Carter. 

" 5. I bequeath to EUzabeth Mary Wiggins the sum of twenty 
pounds and my cats ; and to my maid Ellen Kate Tugby, if she 
shall be in my service at the time of my death, my parrot and the 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 289 

sum of two hundred and five pounds with my best thanks for her 
loving service ; and to my messenger, William Magee, if he shall 
be in my service at the time of my death, the sum of forty five 
poxmds with my best thanks for his faithful service." 

The third and last codicil contains nothing which is of special 
importance. 

Will of Philip, Fifth Eabl of Pembeoke 

Those who possess leisure and patience for the research might 
find in the pigeon holes of will offices some remarkable evidences of 
human malignity. 

Among the most capricious, perhaps, is the specimen we subjoin, 
penned by an Earl of Pembroke, who lived during the political 
turmoils of the seventeenth centiuy ; it testifies to a shrewd knowl- 
edge of character, and is expressed with a considerable amount of 
dry humor which considerably softens its severity. 

The copy from which this is taken bears the signature of the 
then keeper of these records — Nathaniel Brind — beneath the 
words "Concordat cum originali." 

"I, Philip, V Earl of Pembroke and Montgomery, being, as I 
am assured, of unsoimd health, but of sound memory — as I well 
remember me that five years ago I did give my vote for the de- 
spatching of old Canterbury,! neither have I forgotten that I did see 
my King upon the scaffold — yet as it is said that Death doth 
even now pursue me, and, moreover, as it is yet further said that it 
is my practice to yield under coercion, I do now make my last will 
and testament. 

"Imprimis : As for my soul, I do confess I have often heard 
men speak of the soul, but what may be these same souls, or what 
their destination, God knoweth; for myself, I know not. Men 
have likewise talked to me of another world, which I have never 
visited, nor do I even know an inch of the ground that leadeth 
thereto. When the King was reigning, I did make my son wear a 
surplice, being desirous that he should become a Bishop, and for 
myself I did follow the religion of my master: then came the 
Scotch, who made me a Presbyterian, but since the time of Crom- 
well, I have become an Independent. These are, methinks, 
the three principal religions of the kingdom — if any one of the 
three can save a soul, to that I claim to belong : if, therefore, my 
executors can find my soul, I desire they will return it to Him who 
gave it to me. 



290 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

"Item : I give my body, for it is plain I camiot keep it ; as you 
see, the chirurgeons are tearing it in pieces. Bury me, therefore ; 
I hold lands and churches enough for that. Above all, put not 
my body beneath the church-porch, for I am, after all, a man of 
birth, and I would not that I should be interred there, where Col- 
onel Pride was born. 

"Item: I will have no monument, for then I must needs have 
an epitaph, and verses over my carcase: during my life I have 
had enough of these. 

"Item : I desire that my dogs may be shared among all the 
members of the Council of State. With regard to them, I have 
been all things to all men; sometimes went I with the Peers, 
sometimes with the Commons. I hope, therefore, they will not 
suffer my poor ciu-s to want. 

"Item : I give my two best saddle-horses to the Earl of Denbigh 
whose legs, methinks, must soon begin to fail him. As regardeth 
my other horses, I bequeath them to Lord Fairfax, that when 
Cromwell and his council take away his commission he may still 
have some horse to command. 

"Item : I give all my wild beasts to the Earl of Salisbury, being 
very sure he will preserve them, seeing that he refused the King 
a doe out of his park. 

"Item : I bequeath my chaplains to the Earl of Stanford, seeing 
he has never had one in his employ ; having never known any other 
than his son. My Lord Grey, who, being at the same time spiritual 
and carnal, wUl engender more than one monster. 

"Item : I give nothing to my Lord Saye, and I do make him this 
legacy willingly, because I know that he will faithfully distribute 
it unto the poor. 

"Item: Seeing that I did menace a certain Henry Mildmay, 
but did not thrash him, I do leave the sum of fifty pounds sterling 
to the lacquey that shall pay unto him my debt. 

"Item: I bequeath to Thomas May, whose nose I did break 
at a mascarade, five shillings. My intention had been to give 
him more; but all who shall have seen his 'History of the Parlia- 
ment' will consider that even this sum is too large. 

"Item : I should have given to the author of the libel on women, 
entitled 'News of the Exchange,' three pence to invent a yet more 
scurrilous mode of maligning; but, seeing that he insulteth and 
slandereth I know not how many honest persons, I commit the 
office of paying him to the same lacquey who undertaketh the 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 291 

arrears of Henry Mildmay; he will teach him to distinguish be- 
tween honourable women and disreputable. 

"Item: I give to the Lieutenant-General Cromwell one of my 
words, the which he must want, seeing that he hath never kept 
any of his own. 

"Item: I give to the wealthy citizens of London, and likewise 
to the Presbyterians and the nobility, notice to look to their skins ; 
for, by the order of the State, the garrison of Whitehall hath pro- 
vided itself with poniards, and useth dark lanterns in the place of 
candles. 

"Item : I give up the ghost." 

Will of Wilmam Penn 

William Penn died in 1718. His will, which follows, and the 
comments concerning it, are copied from an excellent little booklet 
issued by the Chelten Trust Company of Germantown, Pennsyl- 
vania: 

"I William Perm Esqr so called Cheife proprietor & Govenoiur 
of the Pennsilvania and the Territoryes thereunto belonging, 
being of sound mind and understanding, for which I bless God, 
doe make and declare this my last Will and Testament. 

"My Eldest Son being well provided for by a Settlement of his 
Mothers and my flfathers Estate I give and devise the Rest of my 
Estate in manner following 

"The Government of my Province of Pennsilvania and Terri- 
tories thereunto belonging and all powers relateing thereunto I 
give and devise to the most Hono'ble the Earle of Oxford and Earl 
Mortimer, and to William Earle Powelett, so called, and their 
Heires, upon trust to dispose thereof to the Queen or any other 
Person to the best advantage they can to be applyed in such a 
manner as I shall herein after direct. 

"I give and devise to my dear Wife Hannah Penn and her 
ffather Thomas Callowhill and to my good ffriends Margarett 
Lowther my dear Sister, and to Gilbert Heathcote Physitian,, 
Samuel Waldenfield, John ffield, Henry Gouldney, all Uveing 
in England, and to my friends Samuel Carpenter, Richard Hill, 
Isaac Norris, Samuel Preston, and James Logan, liveing in or near 
Pensilvania and their heires all my lands Tenements and Here- 
ditamts whatsoever rents and other profitts scituate lyeing and 
being in Pensilvania and the Territores thereunto belonging, or 
else where in America, upon Trust that they shall sell and dispose 



292 ANCIENT. CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WELLS 

of so much thereof as shall be sufficient to pay all my just debts, 
and from and after paymt thereof shall convey unto each of the 
three Children of my son Willm Penn, GuUelma-Maria, Springett, 
and WilUam respectively and to their respective heires 10,000 
acres of land in some proper and beneficiall places to be sett out by 
my Trustees aforesaid. All the rest of my lands and Hereditamts 
whatsoever, scituate lyeing and being in America, I will that my 
said Trustees shall convey to and amongst Children which I have 
by my present Wife, in such proporcon and for such estates as my 
said Wife shall think fit, but before such Conveyance shall be 
made to my Children I will that my said Trustees shall convey 
to my daughter Aubrey whom I omitted to name before 10,000 
acres of my said Lands in such places as my said Trustees shall 
think fitt. 

"All my P'sonall estate in Pennsilvania and elsewhere and 
arreares of rent due there I give to my said dear Wife, whom I 
make my sole Executrix for the equall benefitt of her and her 
Children. 

"In Testimony whereof I have sett my hand and seal to this my 
Will, which I declare to be my last Will, revoking all others formerly 
made by me. 

"Signed Sealed and Published by the Testator William Penn 
in the presence of us who sett our names as Witnesses thereof in 
the P'sence of the said Testator after the Interlineacon of the 
Words above Vizt whom I make my sole Executrix. 

William Penn. 
(Five Witnesses) 

"This Will I made when ill of a feavour at London with a Clear 
understanding of what I did then, but because of some imworthy 
Expressions belying Gods goodness to me as if I knew not what I 
did, doe now that I am recovered through Gods goodness hereby 
declare that it is my last Will and Testament at Ruscomb, in 
Berkshire, this 27th of the 5th Month, called May, 1712. 

"Wm. Penn. 
(Seven Witnesses) 
"Postcript in my own hand 

"As a further Testimony of my love to my dear Wife I of my 
own mind give unto her out of the rents of America vizt Pennsil- 
vania 300 pounds a year for her naturall life and for her care and 
charge over my Children in their Education of which she knows 



ANCIENT. CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 293 

my mind as also that I desire they may settle at least in good part 
in America where I leave them so good an Interest to be for their 
Inheritance from Generacon to Generacon which the Lord p'serve 
and prosper. Amen. Wm. Pbnn." 

COMMENTS ON THE WILL 

This will, of interest to all Americans, has been quoted, not as 
showing how to prepare a will, but how not to do it. 

James Logan, man of aflFairs, Secretary of the Province and the 
business representative of the Penn family in Pennsylvania, was 
dismayed when a copy was placed in his hands He wrote to Han- 
nah Penn, the widow, November 4, 1718 : 

"The sloop 'Dolphin' arrived from London, bringing us divers 
letters and among ye rest one from Jno Page to me with a copy of 
our late Proprietor's will wch gives me some uneasiness as being 
Drawn in hast I believe by himself only, when such a settlement 
required a hand better acquainted with affairs of that Nature. 

"The Estate in these parts is vested in so many without im- 
powering any P'ticular or a suitable number to grant and Convey, 
that I fear we shall be puzzled. I hope that you will take advice 
there what methods must be pursued in ye Case." 

James Logan, with his clear mind, saw at once the difficulties 
which would surround the execution of such a will, and regretted 
that Penn had not employed some competent person to draw up 
this important document for him. Such a will, disposing of so 
many and varied interests, as Logan quaintly expressed it, "re- 
quired a hand better acquainted with affairs of that Nature." 

Logan's criticism and fears were well grounded as the litigation 
over the Founder's will extended over a period of nine years. 

The life of Penn reveals him as gifted with extraordinary wis- 
dom, prudence, and forethought. In the ordinary as well as the 
trying and unusual crises of his eventful life, these quaUties stood 
him in good stead, but when he came to draw up his own will they 
failed him, as they have failed so many men who have tried in vain 
to draw a valid will. 

It is a wise provision of the religious society of which Penn was 
one of the founders, by which it annually recommends to its 
members : 

"Friends are earnestly advised to inspect the state of their out- 
ward affairs at least once in a year and to consider carefully, whilst 
in health, the just disposition of their estates by will or otherwise." 



294 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Will of Samuel Pepts 

Samuel Pepys was an interesting figure in England in the latter 
part of the seventeenth century. We know him chiefly as the 
well-known diarist, though he did work of high order in connection 
with the British navy. He died on May 26, 1703. Of his diary, 
the London Athencmm has said: "It is the best book of its 
kind in the English language." 

By his will, he left to Magdalene College, Cambridge, the Pepy- 
sian Library of some three thousand volumes. This collection is 
kept in a separate building, and contains manuscript of his cele- 
brated diary, together with many rare and curious documents, 
including the love letters of Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn, a collec- 
tion of Scottish poetry and ancient English ballads. The diary, 
which was deciphered from the author's shorthand notes, is yet a 
popular book and is of standard importance to English literature,* 
reflecting, as it does, the court, times, characters, and peculiarities 
of the age of Charles II. 

Will of Cecil John Rhodes 

Cecil John Rhodes, of Cape Town, South Africa, who died in 
1902, was a South African statesman and financier; an affection 
of the lungs necessitated his leaving England when a yoimg man, 
and he acquired fame and wealth in the home of his adoption. 
Rhodes's mode of life was the subject of diverse criticism ; he was 
regarded as a man actuated by selfish motives, and preeminently, 
a man of money, but by his will, he left nearly his entire fortune 
to educational purposes; his scholarships have commanded the 
admiration of the world, and former estimates of his character were 
modified. Certain portions of this remarkable will, taken from 
Mr. Remsen's excellent work, follow : 

"I, The Right Honourable Cecil John Rhodes of Cape Town in 
the Colony of the Cape of Good Hope, hereby revoke all testamen- 
tary dispositions heretofore made by me and declare this to be my 
last Will which I make this first day of July 1899. 

"1. I am a natural-born British subject and I now declare that 
I have adopted and acquired and hereby adopt and acquire and 
intend to retain Rhodesia as my domicile. 

"2. I appoint (naming seven persons) to be the Executors and 
Trustees of my Will and they and the survivors of them or other 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 295 

the Trustees for the time being of my Will are hereinafter called 
'My Trustees.' 

"3. I admire the grandeur and loneliness of the Matoppos in 
Rhodesia and therefore I desire to be buried in the Matoppos on 
the hill which I used to visit and which I called the 'View of the 
World' in a square to be cut in the rock on the top of the hill 
covered with a plain brass plate these words thereon — 'Here lie 
the remains of Cecil John Rhodes' and accordingly I direct my 
Executors at the expense of my estate to take steps and do all 
things necessary or proper to give effect to this my desire and after- 
wards to keep my grave in order at the expense of the Matoppos 
and Bulawayo fund hereinafter mentioned." 

The testator gives certain pecuniary legacies, directs the erection 
or completion of a monument on the said hill in memory of certain 
dead, and provides for interments thereon. He provides for the 
cultivation of certain of his lands "for the instruction of the people 
of Rhodesia," the establishment of a park, "planted with every 
possible tree," with funds for their maintenance. 

He places in trust certain property for the use of his brothers 
and sisters with gift over. He gives his college in the University 
of Oxford a sum of money for the erection of new college buildings 
and other purposes. He provides, by means of a trust, for the use 
of his residence and grounds at Cape Town ds a public park until 
the Federal Government of the State of South Africa shall be 
founded, and thereafter as the residence of the Prime Minister 
in that government. 

After reciting his educational views and desire to promote unity 
among the English-speaking people throughout the world, the tes- 
tator provides for the establishment of certain scholarships at the 
University of Oxford, for the benefit of students for British Colonies 
and the United States of America. To this, by codicil, he sub- 
sequently added certain scholarships for the benefit of German 
students. He also prescribes certain rules and regulations for the 
election of students to such scholarships. 

"36. My trustees shall invest the scholarship fund and the other 
iunds hereinbefore established or any part thereof respectively in 
such investments in any part of the world, as they shall in their 
uncontrolled discretion think fit and that without regard to any 
Tules of equity governing investments by trustees and without any 
responsibility or liability should they commit any breach of any 
such rule, with power to vary any such investments for others of 
a like nature." 



296 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

"37. Investments to bearer held as an investment, may be 
deposited by my Trustees for safe custody in their names with any 
banker or banking company or with any company whose business 
it is to take charge of investments of that nature and my trustees 
shall not be responsible for any loss incurred in consequence of 
such deposit." 

"40. I give the residue of my real and personal estate unto such 
of them the said (persons who are named as Executors and Trus- 
tees,) as shall be living at my death absolutely and if more than 
one as joint tenants." 

"41. My Trustees in the administration of the trust business 
may instead of acting personally, employ and pay a Secretary or 
Agent to transact all business and do all acts required to be done 
in the trust including the receipt and payment of money." 

"42. My intention is that there shall be always at least three 
Trustees of my Will so far as it relates to the Scholarship Trusts 
and therefore I direct that whenever there shall be less than three 
Trustees, a new Trustee or new Trustees shall be forthwith ap- 
pointed." 

"In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand the day and 
year first above written. 

"C. J. Rhodes." 
(Subscribed by three witnesses.) 

CODICIL 

There is a long codicil to the will wherein the testator devises 
in tail his palatial home, known as "The Delham Hall Estate" 
and makes disposition of his great treasures in heirlooms, in and 
about Delham Hall. 

Will of Cabdinal Richeliett 

This very interesting and remarkable will is extremely rare to 
find, although the copy from which we take it was in print, having 
been preserved, among many other curious papers, by M. Bourse, 
of Chatillon ; docketed along with it was a collection of isolated 
papers, all more or less piqttants, relating to the famous and formi- 
dable cardinal, and consisting of satirical verses, epitaphs, lampoons, 
parasitical flatteries, apologies, etc. There is also a rough copy of 
a biUet d'enterrement, apparently drawn up with the intention of 
being distributed to the court to invite them to the funeral. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 297 

Our readers will no doubt peruse with curiosity the last wishes 
of this pompous and magnificent minister, who contrived to rehabil- 
itate himself after an eariy disgrace, to maintain his proud suprem- 
acy to the last, and to die bequeathing gifts to his sovereign and 
master. 

Of his luxury and extravagance, his nepotism so costly to the 
country, his assumption of power, and the art with which he knew 
how to make himself obeyed and feared by all classes and condi- 
tions of men, history amply informs us in details scarcely credible 
at the present day ; and that it was he who by his despotism and 
tyranny laid the foundations of that terrible revolution, which 
blasted the face of the country and cast its fatal blight, more or 
less fatally, over the whole civilized world, none are likely to forget. 

If we wanted an instance of pomp, unexampled even in the his- 
tory of the Roman Empire, of uncompromising consideration as 
claimed by and accorded to this parvenu prince, whose personal 
expenses are estimated at more than a thousand crowns a day — 
considerably more than the monarch he served had at his private 
disposal — we may find it in the narrative of his (happily) last 
journey from Tarascon to Paris. It is to be regretted the famous 
Tarasque had not broken loose that day and devoured him before 
he started on his egotistical expedition. 

Pronouncing himself unable to bear the fatigue of saddle, car- 
riage, or litter, he ordered a room to be built of light boards cov- 
ered with crimson satin damask, which was to be furnished with a 
bed, two chairs, and a table for his secretary ; this movable house 
was hoisted on the shoulders of eighteen of the cardinal's guards, 
to be relieved at stated distances ; they were to walk on bareheaded, 
no matter what weather, and it was during the month of August, 
or about the hottest season in France. 

When this singular cortege — for the cardinal was followed by 
carriages containing his numerous suite — arrived at the towns 
he had to pass through, they found the walls and gates already 
demohshed and cleared away by the direction of a vanguard of 
attendants sent on before to see that room was made for his Emi- 
nence to pass without delay or interruption. 

When he reached Paris, chains were stretched along both sides 
of the streets to keep back the people who crowded them to con- 
template in wonder and silent awe the despot, who a few days 
before, had hurried fo the scafifold Uie youthful Cinq-Mars and 
his virtuous friend De Thou. 



298 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

This sight made a profound and lasting impression on the youth- 
ful Bossuet, who, being on that day fifteen years of age, arrived in 
Paris for the first time. 

It would be superfluous to cite this will in its entirety ; we there- 
fore only transcribe such passages as we feel will be of general 
interest, and these we give verbatim. 

It is dated Narbonne, 23d of May, 1642, and bears the signature 
of Pierre Falconis, notaire royal. It is contained in twelve quarto 
pages of very close printing. 

After two paragraphs of pious preamble and directions for his 
funeral, it proceeds to appoint to his niessce, Madame la Duchesse 
d'Eguillon (sic), all the cash in gold and silver he might possess 
at his decease, except a sum of 1,500,000 livres to be placed in the 
hands of his Majesty immediately on his death for a purpose he 
will explain farther on. It then goes on to declare that by contract 
he had given to the Crown "... Mon grand hostel que j'ai 
basti sous le nom de Palais Cardinal, ma chapeUe d'or enrichie de 
diamans, mon buffet d'argent cisele, et un grand diamant que j'ai 
achete a Lopez, toutes lesquelles choses le roi a eu agr^able par sa 
bonte d'accepter a ma trez humble et tres instante supplica- 
tion. . . . 

"Je supplie S. M. d'avoir agreables huit tentures de tapisserie 
et trois lits que je prie Madame la Duchesse d'Eguillon, ma niessce, 
et M. de Noyers de choisir entre mes meubles, pour servir k une 
partie de I'ameublement des principaux appartemens du dit Palais 
Cardinal. 

"Comme aussi je la supplie d'agr^r la donation que je lui fais 
en outre de I'hostel qui est devant le Palais Cardinal, lequel j'ai 
acquis de feu M. le Commandeur de Sillery, pour au lieu d'icelui 
faire une place au devant du dit palais. 

"Je supplie aussi tr^s humblement S. M. de trouver bon que 
Ton lui mette entre les mains la somme de 1,500,000 livres dont 
j'ay fait mention cy-dessus, de laquelle somme je puis dire avec 
vdrit6 de m'estre servi tres utilement aux plus grandes affaires 
de son estat, en sort que si je n'eusse eu cet argent k ma disposition 
quelques affaires qui ont bien succdde eussent apparemment mal 
r6ussi, ce qui me donne sujet d'oser supplier S. M. de destiner ceste 
somme que je lui laisse, pom: employer en di verses occasions, qui ne 
peuvent souffrir la longueur des formes de finance." 

He then orders all his property, whether in esse or in posse, to 
be distributed as follows. The list supplies some idea of the shame- 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 299 

less extent to which this man, who began life without any kind of 
fortune, enriched himself at the expense of the State. 

"Je donne et 16gue k Armand de Maill6, mon nepveu et fileul, 
fils d'Arban de Maille, Marquis de Brez6, Mareschal de France, 
et de Nicole du Flessis, ma seconde soeur, et en ce je I'institue mon 
h^ritier poiu- les droicts qu'il pourrait prendre en toutes les terres 
et autres qui se trouveront en ma succession ainsi que s'ensuit." 

These Mens consisted of (for the share of this nephew alone) 
the duchi et pairie of Fronsac et Caumont ; of the lands and Mar- 
quisate of Graville ; of the county of Beaufort en Vallee ; of the 
lands and barony of Fresne; of 300,000 livres deposited at the 
Chateau de Saumur ; and of the Jerme des fords de Normandie, 
the returns from which amount to 50,000 Uvres annually. 

Next comes the before-named niece who, over and above the 
Mens settled on her at her marriage, was to have ". . .la maison 
o^ elle loge k present, nomme le Petit Luxembourg, joignant le 
palais de la reine, m^re du roi ; ma maison et ma terre de Ruel ; 
le domaine de Pontoise ; la rente que j'ay a prendre sur les cinq 
posses fermes de France qui monte k 60,000 livres par an. 

"Item : A ma dite niessce, tons les cristaux, tableaux, et autres 
pieces qui sont dans le cabinet principal de la dite maison le Petit 
Luxembourg, sans y comprendre I'argenterie du bufiPet dont j'ay 
deja dispose. 

"Item: Je lui donne aussi toutes mes bagues et pierreries k 
I'exception sexdement de ce que j'ay laiss6 k la Couronne, ensemble 
un buffet d'argent vermeil dor6 neuf, pesant 535 marcs 4 gros, 
contenu en deux coffres faits exprez." 

The next legatee is his nephew, Frangois de Vignerot, to whom 
he leaves first the sum of 200,000 livres on condition that he shall 
lay it out in the purchase of an estate, to enjoy it during his life- 
time, and after his decease to go to Armand, his eldest son, or to 
whichever of his sons succeeds to the title of Due de Richeheu. 
He leaves him further his diicM-'pairie de Richelieu with the ap- 
purtenances, dependencies, and lands thereto belonging. 

Item : The lands and barony of Barbezieux ; 

Item : The lands and principality of Mortagne ; 

Item: The county of Cosnac, the baronies of Coze, Laugeon 
and d'Alvas, the domain of Hiers en Brouage, the hostel of Riche- 
lieu planned and ordered to be built adjoining the Palais Cardinal. 

Item: The tapestries representing the history of Lucretia, 
bought of M. le Due de Chevreuse, with all the figures, statues. 



300 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

busts, pictures, crystals, cabinets, tables, and other furniture at 
present in the condergerie of the Palais Cardinal, in order worthily 
to furnish and adorn the said Hostel de Richelieu, when it shall be 
completed; and besides these all other movables or immovables, 
claims upon the king or his domains, and generally all property 
not as yet disposed of by this will ; but all and only on the condi- 
tion that he shall assume the sole name of Du Plessis Richelieu, 
and that neither he nor his descendants shall ever be known by 
any other, or quarter any other arms, under the following pen- 
alties. . . . 

To this nephew, the cardinal also leaves his library, but with 
the proviso that it is to be at the service of all members of the fam- 
ily, and also of the public ; and he desires, therefore, that on his 
decease, a full and complete catalogue be made under the direc- 
tions of his executors, who are to call to their assistance two Doctors 
of the Sorbonne, who shall be present during the making of the said 
inventory; which, being made in duplicate, one copy was to be 
deposited in his own library, signed by his executors and by the 
said Doctors of the Sorborme ; and the other copy, similarly signed, 
in the Sorbonne itself. 

There are further conditions attached to the ownership of the 
library, viz., that a librarian shall be appointed at a salary of one 
thousand livres per annum; three candidates having first been 
chosen by the Sorbonne and nominated by his successors. He 
desires further that a person shall be kept to sweep out the library 
every day, and to beat, dust, and wipe the books at stated and 
frequent intervals, at a yearly wage of four hundred livres. He 
also stipulates that one thousand livres shall be put by every year 
for the purchase of additional books. 

He explains that his "niessce la Duchesse d'Enghien" having 
displeased him by her marriage, he leaves her nothing, "moyen- 
nant ce que je lui ai donn6 en dot, dont je veux et ordonne qu'elle 
se contente." 

After several clauses relating to the edifice of the Sorbonne, to 
his burial, to several constructions to be added to the Hostel de 
Richelieu, and to a legacy of sixty thousand livres to the "vingt 
peres de la mission 6tablie a Richelieu," he adds a very character- 
istic clause as follows : 

"Et d'autant plus qu'il a plu k Dieu benir mes travaux et les 
faire considerer par le roy mon bon maistre, en les reconnoissant 
par sa munificence royale, audessus de ce que je pouvoir esperer. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 301 

j'ay estim6, en faisant ma disposition pr&ente, devoir obliger mes 
h6ritiers a conserver I'etablissement que j'ay fait en ma famille, 
en sorte qu'elle se puisse maintenir longuement en la dignite et 
splendenr qu'il a plu au roi lui donner, afin que la posterite connoisse 
que si je I'ay servi fideUement, il a sgu par une vertu toute royale 
m'aymer et me combler de ses bienfaits." And here follow certain 
conditions which need not be detailed. 

In the next clause the pride of family crops up again: "Je 
defends a mes heritiers de prendre alliance en des maisons qui ne 
soient pas vrayement nobles, les laissant assez a leurs aise pour 
avoir plus d'6gards a la naissance et a la vertu qu'aux commodites 
€t aux biens." 

The clause relating to servants and their bequests is worth 
quoting, as testimony to the magnificence of his Eminence's 
retinue : 

"Pour marque de la satisfaction que j'ay des services qui m'ont 
«st6 rendus par mes domestiques et serviteurs je donne au Sieur 
Didier, mon aimiosnier, 1500 liv. ; au Sieur de Bar, 10,000 Uv. ; 
au Sieur de Manse, 6000 Kv. ; au Sieur de Belesbat, parceque je 
ne lui ay encore rien donne, 10,000 Uv. ; a Beaugensi, 3000 liv. ; 
a Estoublon, 3000 liv. ; au Sieur de Marsal, 3000 Kv. ; au Sieur de 
Palvoisin, parceque je ne lui ay jusques icy rien donn4, 12,000 hv. ; 
a Grenille, 2000 Hv. ; h Blouin, 6000 liv. ; au Sieur Cytois, 6000 
liv. ; au Sieur Renaudot, 2000 liv. ; a Bertereau, 6000 hv. ; a 
Des Bomais, mon valet de chambre, 6000 liv., et je desire qu'il 
demeure concierge, soutz mon petit neveu, du Pont de Courlay, 
dans le Palais Cardinal ; au Cousin, 6000 hv. ; a I'Espolette et a 
Prevost, chacun 3000 hv. ; k Picot, 6000 hv. ; a Robert, 3000 hv. ; 
au Sieur de Graves et de Saint-Leger, mes escuyers, chacun 3000 
hv. ; et en outre, mes deux carosses avec leurs deux attelages de 
chevaux, ma htiere et les trois mulcts qui y servent, pour estre 
^galement partag6s entre mes dits deux escuyers ; a Chamarante 
et Du Plessis, chacun 3000 hv.; a Vilandry, 1500 hv.; k De 
Roques, dixhuit chevaux d'escole, apres que les douze meiUeurs 
de mon escurie auront est6 choisies par mes parents ; au Sieur de 
Portes Cuieres, 6000 hv. ; a Grandpre, capitaine de Richelieu, 
3000 hv. ; a la Jeunesse, concierge de Richelieu, 5000 hv. ; au 
petit Mulat, qui escrit soutz le Sieur Charpentier, mon secretaire, 
1500 hv. ; £1 la Garde, 3000 hv. ; A mon premier cuisinier, 2000 
hv. ; a mon credencier, 2000 hv. ; a mon premier cocher, 1500 hv. ; 
a mon premier muletier, 1200 liv. ; a chacun de mes valets de pied. 



302 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

600 liv. ; et g^neralement k tous les autres officiers de ma maison 
scavoir : de la cuisine sommeliers et escuyers, chacun six amines 
de leurs gages outre ce qui leur sera deu jusques au jour de mon 
decez. 

" Je ne donne rien au Sieur Charpentier, mon secretaire, parceque 
j'ay eu soin de lui faire du bien pendant ma vie; mais je veux 
rendre ce temoignage de luy, que durant le longtemps qu'il m'a 
servy, je n'ay poinct connu de plus homme de bien, ny de plus 
loyal et plus sincere serviteur. 

"Je ne donne rien aussi au Sieur Cherr^, mon autre secretaire, 
parceque je le laisse assez accommode, estant neanmoins satisfait 
des services qu'U m'a rendus. 

"Je donne au baron de Broye, heritier du feu Sieur Barbin, 
que j'ay seen estre en necessity, la somme de 30,000 livres." 

The remainder of the will consists of various, and we may add 
very numerous, formalities, signatures of witnesses, etc. 

It is a curious fact that, on the death of the last surviving 
descendant of the Du Plessis family, 17th of May, 1822— a man, 
be it observed, of singular probity and true grandeur of character 
— the colossal fortune amassed by the cardinal had dwindled down 
to such small proportions that all that remained of it was swallowed 
up in paying off the debts of his profligate father, and of his grand- 
father, the notorious Due de Richelieu who figures so largely in the 
"Chronique Scandaleuse " of his day. 

Will of Jean Jacqttbs Rousseau 

Although Rousseau's will was made in 1737, it remained unknown 
to the world until 1820. It never was executed, nor ever became 
an effectual or a legal document; but it is, nevertheless, curious 
as testifying to the state of mind of the writer and the fervent 
sentiments of piety he entertained at the age of twenty-five. 

The original, which is well authenticated, was found in the garret 
of an old house at Chamb6ry. It was among the forgotten minutes 
of a former notary of that town, named Rivoire, and occupied 
pages 104, 105, and 106 of the minute. It is dated June 7, 1737 — 
a day on which, as stated in the will, Rousseau met with an accident 
which obliged him to keep his bed, and having a bandage on his 
forehead covering his eyes, was thus prevented signing his will; 
though, says the notary, "sain de ses sens ainsi qu'il a paru par 
la suite et solidit6 de ses raisonnements." It seems to have been a 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 303 

case of "The devil was sick," etc., and the will appears to be such 
as Rousseau was not likely to have written at any other moment. 

The deed was received at the house of M. Le Comte de St. 
Laurent, Contrdleur-general des finances de S. M. le Roi de Sar- 
daigne, inhabited at the time by Madame Warens, who afterwards 
occupied so large a place in the life of Rousseau. 

The testator, after making the sign of the Cross, recommending 
his soul to God, and begging the intercession of the holy Virgin 
and of SS. John and James, his patrons, professes his intention of 
living and dying in the faith of the Catholic apostolic and Roman 
Church. He leaves his obsequies to the discretion of his heiress, 
and charges her to see that prayers are oflfered for the repose of his 
soul. 

After these preliminaries he bequeaths 16 livres to each of the 
Convents of the Capuchins, the Augustinians, and the Clares of 
Chambery, that they may celebrate masses for the repose of his 
soul. 

He bequeaths his patrimony to his father, praying him to be 
content therewith as gratitude renders it his duty to dispose of his 
other possessions in favor of his benefactors. 

He leaves 100 livres to the Sieur Jacques Barillot of Geneva; 
he appoints as his heir Madame Frangoise-Louise de la Tour 
Comtesse de Warens, to whom he declares it his wish to pay over 
and above this, the sum of 2000 livres to cover the expenses of his 
board during ten years. Finally he recognizes a debt of 700 livres 
in favor of the Sieiu" Charbonnel, a tradesman of Chamb6ry, for 
goods delivered and money lent. 

The will is signed by Claude Morel (procureur au s6nat), Antoine 
Bonne des Echelles, Jacques Gros de Vanzy, Antoine Bouvard, 
Pierre Catagnole and Pierre Cordonnier. The seventh witness, 
Antoine Forraz de Bissy, is declared "illitere." This act was 
registered 22d of July, 1737, in fol. 662 of the second book of the 
year 1737. 

According to all appearance this will was not engrossed, and 
Rousseau, whose life was so checkered, and who so often changed 
his domicile, probably forgot all about it, and about the accident 
which occasioned it, when he drew up his Confessions. 

The J<mrnal de Savoie, under date 7th of April, 1820, supplies 
some ciuiious particulars as to the minutes of the above-named 
notary, Rivoire, among which were found a power of attorney to 
Jacques Barillot by Rousseau, to withdraw at Geneva the rights 



304 ANCIENT. CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

of his mother Suzanne Bernard. This document is dated 12th of 
July, 1737, and registered on the 15th of the same month. 

Rousseau, born at Geneva, 28th of June, 1712, died at Ermenon- 
viUe, 2d of July, 1778. 

Will of Lohd St. Leonakds 

The necessity that there should be some better fashion for the 
safe keeping of wills, during the lifetime of testators, than at 
present exists, is, perhaps, more vividly portrayed in the case of the 
late Lord St. Leonards than in any other on record. In this case 
we have the loss of the will, not only, of one of the astutest of 
lawyers, the most orthodox of conveyancers, but of a man who had 
made it his chief pleasure and study during the last four years of 
his life to provide for the disposition of his worldly wealth, when 
his Creator should summon away his spirit from earth, and return 
his mortal frame to the dust from which He had made it. More- 
over, the testator is no less a person than the very ingenious con- 
veyancer, Lord Chancellor of England, and author himself of that 
famous " Handy-book," in which men are exhorted in the most 
convincing manner to make due and thorough disposition of their 
earthly possessions. Here, during the years he had been engaged 
in maldng his will, the greatest care was evinced for the preserva- 
tion of the precious document, as it was not only kept locked up 
in a box, but during his Lordship's illness the Honorable Miss 
Charlotte Sugden, his daughter, took charge of the box and re- 
tained it in her custody until her father should be able to leave his 
room, when it was replaced by her in its ordinary position, and 
where it remained until his last illness, when she again took charge 
of it, and in whose custody it continued until his Lordship's death 
in January, 1875. After the solemn ceremony of the funeral this 
well-cared-for box was opened, but, alas ! the will was not there. 
How this strange circumstance occurred no one has been able to 
furnish any information ; but the loss gave rise to litigation of the 
most serious character in the Court of Probate. The triumph 
gained in that court by Miss Sugden in establishing a will, carrying 
out the wishes of her father, on the simple basis of her recollection 
of the contents of the lost document, is as wondrous an achieve- 
ment as any one well could imagine, and testifies to the grave 
respect with which her evidence must have been regarded by the 
searching judgment and scrutinizing eye of the learned judge. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 305 

Notwithstanding all this, the loss of the will has not escaped the 
attendance of great and grievous evils, unnecessary to be related. 

The judge having in a most^eloquent manner reviewed the case, 
as elucidated by the pleadings of the very learned counsel engaged 
on the trial, most admirably concluded his summing-up with the 
following remarks: 

"Now let me call attention to a passage in one of Lord St. 
Leonards' own works which has a bearing upon this subject, and it 
shows how the wisest of men may be mistaken, as I think, in the 
advice which they give to others. And I may say this case illus- 
trates the false security in which Lord St. Leonards lived, and in 
which I dare say we all of us live. With the other members of his 
family, he lived in the behef that his Will was secure from the 
hands and eyes of either the curious or the dishonest. It was 
thought that the only means of access to it was by the only key 
which Lord St. Leonards carried about him ; and that there was 
no means of access to the duplicate key, which would open the 
Will-box, and yet it turned out that there were no less than four 
keys in the house by which anybody might have opened the 
escritoire in which the duplicate key was kept, and so have ob- 
tained possession of it. Believing as I do that this Will has been 
lost, and not destroyed by the testator, and that the loss has 
arisen from its insecure custody, though that custody seemed to 
all concerned to be perfectly safe, it is well that it should be known 
and I particularly desire that it should be known to the public, 
that the law has provided a means of obtaining as nearly a cer- 
tainty as can be obtained in human affairs that a Will will be forth- 
coming at the death of the testator. . . . 

"The result is that I find as a fact, that the Will of 1870 was 
duly executed and attested; that the several codicils also were 
duly executed and attested ; that the Will was not revoked by the 
testator; and I further find that the contents of the Will were, 
with the exception I have mentioned, as set out in the declara- 
tion." 

Will of William Shakesperb 

"Vicesimo quinto die Martii, Anno Regni Domini nostri Jacobi 
nunc Regis Anglise, &c., decimo quarto, et Scotiae quadragesimo 
nono. Anno Domini 1616. 

"In the name of God, Amen. I, William Shakespere, of Strat- 
ford-upon-Avon, in the coimty of Wanvick, gent., in perfect 



306 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

health and memory, (God be praised !) do make and ordain this 
my last Will and testament in manner and form following; that 
is to say: 

"First, I commend my soul into the hands of God my creator, 
hoping, and assuredly believing through the only merits of Jesus 
Christ my Saviour, to be made partaker of life everlasting ; and 
my body to the earth whereof it is made. 

"Item: I give and bequeath unto my daughter Judith one 
hundred and fifty pounds of lawful English money, to be paid unto 
her in manner and form following; that is to say, one hundred 
pounds in discharge of her marriage portion within one year after 
my decease, with consideration after the rate of two shillings in 
the pound for so long time as the same shall be unpaid unto her 
after my decease ; and the fifty pounds residue thereof, upon her 
surrendering of, or giving of such sufficient security as the over- 
seers of this my Will shall like of, to surrender or grant, all her 
estate and right that shall descend or come unto her after my 
decease, or that she now hath, of, in, or to, one copyhold tenement, 
with the appurtenances, lying and being in Stratford-upon-Avon 
aforesaid, in the said county of Warwick, being parcel or holden 
of the manor of Rowington, unto my daughter Susanna Hall, and 
her heirs for ever. 

"Item: I give and bequeath unto my said daughter Judith 
one hundred and fifty pounds more, if she, or any issue of her body, 
be living at the end of three years next ensuing the day of the date 
of this my Will, during which time my executors to pay her con- 
sideration from my decease according to the rate aforesaid: and 
if she die within the said term without issue of her body, then my 
Will is, and I do give and bequeath one hundred pounds thereof 
to my niece Elizabeth Hall, and the fifty pounds to be set forth by 
my executors during the life of my sister Joan Hart, and the use and 
profit thereof coming, shall be paid to my said sister Joan, and after 
her decease the said fifty pounds shall remain amongst the children 
of my said sister, equally to be divided amongst them ; but if my 
said daughter Judith be living at the end of the said three years, 
or any issue of her body, then my Will is, and so I devise and 
bequeath, the said hundred and fifty pounds to be set out by my 
executors and overseers for the best benefit of her and her issue, 
and the stock not to be paid unto her so long as she shall be married 
and covert baron ; but my Will is, that she shall have the considera- 
tion yearly paid unto her during her life, and after her decease the 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 307 

said stock and consideration to be paid to her children, if she have 
any, and if not, to her executors or assigns, she hving the said 
term after my decease : provided that if such husband as she 
shall at the end of the said three years be married unto, or at any 
(time) after, do sufficiently assure unto her, and the issue of her 
body, lands answerable to the portion by this my will given unto 
her, and to be adjudged so by my executors and overseers, then 
my Will is, that the said hundred and fifty pounds shall be 
paid to such husband as shall make such assurance, to his 
own use. 

"Item: I give and bequeath unto my said sister Joan twenty 
pounds, and all my wearing apparel, to be paid and delivered within 
one year after my decease ; and I do Will and devise unto her the 
house, with the appurtenances, in Stratford, wherein she dwelleth, 
for her natural life, under the yearly rent of twelve-pence. 

"Item : I give and bequeath unto her three sons, William Hart, 

Hart, and Michael Hart, five pounds a-piece, to be paid 

within one year after my decease. 

"Item: I give and bequeath unto the said Ehzabeth Hall all 
my plate (except my broad silver and gilt bowl) that I now have 
at the date of this my Will. 

"Item: I give and bequeath imto the poor of Stratford afore- 
said ten pounds; to Mr. Thomas Combe my sword; to Thomas 
Russel, esq., five pounds ; and to Francis Collins of the borough of 
Warwick, in the county of Warwick, gent., thirteen pounds six 
shillings and eight-pence, to be paid within one year after my 
decease. 

"Item: I give and bequeath to Hamlet (Hamnet) Sadler 
twenty-six shillings eight-pence, to buy him a ring; to William 
Reynolds, gent., twenty-six shillings eight-pence, to buy him a 
ring; to my godson William Walker, twenty shillings in gold; 
to Anthony Nash, gent., twenty-six shillings eight-pence ; and to 
Mr. John Nash, twenty-six shillings eight-pence; and to my 
fellows, John Hemynge, Richard Burbage, and Henry Cundell, 
twenty-six shillings eight-pence a-piece, to buy them rings. 

"Item : I give. Will, bequeath, and devise, unto my daughter 
Susanna Hall, for better enabling of her to perform this my Will, 
and towards the performance thereof, all that capital messuage or 
tenement, with the appurtenances, in Stratford aforesaid, called 
the New Place, wherein I now dwell, and two messuages or tene- 
ments, with the appurtenances, situate, lying, and being in Henley 



308 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Street, within the borough of Stratford aforesaid; and all my 
barns, stables, orchards, gardens, lands, tenements and heredita- 
ments whatsoever, situate, lying, and being, or to be had, received 
perceived, or taken, within the towns, hamlets, villages, fields, 
and grounds of Stratford-upon-Avon, Old Stratford, Bishopton, 
and Welcombe, or in any of them, in the said county of Warwick ; 
and also all that messuage or tenement, with the appurtenances, 
wherein one John Robinson dwelleth, situate, lying, and being, in 
the Blackfriars in London, near the Wardrobe ; and all other my 
lands, tenements, and hereditaments whatsoever ; to have and to 
hold all and singular the said premises, with their appurtenances, 
unto the said Susanna Hall, for and during the term of her natural 
life ; and after her decease to the first son of her body lawfully 
issuing, and to the heirs males of the body of the said first son law- 
fully issuing; and for default of such issue, to the second son of 
her body lawfully issuing, and to the heirs males of the body of the 
said second son lawfully issuing ; and for default of such heirs, to 
the third son of the body of the said Susanna lawfully issuing, and 
to the heirs males of the body of the said third son lawfully issuing ; 
and for default of such issue, the same to be and remain to the 
fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh sons of her body, lawfully issuing 
one after another, and to the heirs males of the bodies of the said 
fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh sons lawfully issuing, in such 
manner as it is before limited to be and remain to the first, second, 
and third sons of her body, and to their heirs males : and for de- 
fault of such issue, the said premises to be and remain to my said 
niece Hall, and the heirs males of her body lawfully issuing ; and 
for default of such issue, to my daughter Judith, and the heirs 
males of her body lawfully issuing ; and for defaidt of such issue, 
to the right heirs of me the said William Shakespere for ever. 

"Item: I give unto my wife my second best bed, with the 
furniture. 

"Item: I give and bequeath to my said daughter Judith my 
broad silver gilt bowl. All the rest of my goods, chattels, leases, 
plate, jewels, and household-stuff whatsoever, after my debts and 
legacies paid, and my funeral expenses discharged, I give, devise 
and bequeath to my son-in-law, John Hall, gent., and my daughter 
Susanna his wife, whom I ordain and make executors of this my 
last Will and testament. And I do entreat and appoint the said 
Thomas Russel, esq., and Francis Collins, gent., to be overseers 
hereof. And do revoke all former Wills, and publish this to be my 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 309 

last Will and testament. In witness whereof I have hereunto put 
my hand, the day and year first above written. 

"Byrne, 
" William Shakespere. 
"Witness to the publishing hereof, 

Fra. CoUyns, 

Julius Shaw, 

John Robinson, 

Hamnet Sadler, 

Robert Whattcoat." 

Will of M. Silhouette 

M. Silhouette died in 1767 in Paris. His will is as dry as the 
political and financial details of a period of history insipid in itself 
could make it ; but the history of the man who wrote it is singular 
and suggestive, and shows how greatly the success of a public func- 
tionary depends on the circumstances in which he is placed, and far 
less than we are apt to suppose on his genius or skill. 

Etienne Silhouette, Contr61eur-g6neral and Minister of State, 
only held office during nine months, but at a time when the 
Treasury was already in an exhausted state in consequence of 
ruinous wars and the lavish expenditure of his predecessors. He 
had no choice but to replenish the coffers of the State by the impo- 
sition of new taxes, as economy alone would not have sufficed, 
though it might have aided to fill the alarming void. So far, how- 
ever, from commending this needful, if not indispensable measure, 
his policy was turned into ridicule ; and the people whom he did 
his best to serve and to save, heaped upon him every kind of 
obloquy. Among other insults they changed the name of a street 
issuing from the Place des Victoires, which had been styled after 
him La Rue Silhouette, into La Rue Vide Gousset, which it retains 
to this day ; and as among other articles, he had imposed a tax 
upon likenesses taken in black paper, cut out, and pasted on a 
white card, which were then extremely popular, not only these 
portraits, but thence all black outlines received the name of 
silhouettes, which has adhered to them ever since. 

Will of Dean Swift 

Dean Swift died October 19, 1745. The "Last Will of 
Jonathan Swift, D.D., taken out of the Prerogative Court of 
Dublin" in book form, neatly rebound and covering twenty-seven 



310 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

pages of written matter can yet be found in the bookstores of 
London. The instrument is dated the third day of May, 1740, 
and the document itself was printed a few years later. In turning 
its pages, a feeling of awe and reverence is experienced by the 
reader as he reviews the last words of the noted Irish clergyman, 
satirist and author of "Gulliver's Travels." Several important 
items of the Will follow : 

"In the Name of God, Amen. I, Jonathan Swift, Doctor in 
Divinity, and Dean of the Cathedral Church of St. Patrick, Dub- 
lin, being at this Present of sound Mind, although weak in Body, 
do here make my last Will and Testament, hereby revoking all my 
former Wills. 

"Imprimis, I bequeath my Soul to God, (in humble Hopes of 
his Mercy through Jesus Christ) and my Body to the Earth. 
And I desire that my Body may be buried in the great Isle of the 
said Cathedral, on the South Side, under the Pillar next to the 
Monument of Primate Narcissus Marsh, three Days after my 
Decease, as privately as possible, and at Twelve o'Clock at Night : 

And, that a Black Marble of Feet square, and seven Feet from 

the Ground, fixed to the Wall, may be erected, with the following 
Inscription in large Letters, deeply cut, and strongly gilded." 

HIC DEPOSITDM EST COBPUS 

JONATHAN SWIFT, S.T.P. 

HtJJUS ECCLESLE CATHEDBAIJS 

DECANI, 

UBI S^VA INDIGNATIO 

ULTEBIUS COB LACEBABE NE- 

QUIT. 

ABI, VIATOB, 

ET IMITAEE, 81 POTEBI8, 

STBENUTJM PBO VIBIU UBEB- 

TATIS VINDICEM. 

OBHT ANNO [mDCCXLV.] 

MENaiS [OCTOBBIS] DIE [19.] 

^TATIS ANNO [iXXVIU.] 

" Item : I give and bequeath to my Executors all my worldly 
Substance, of what Nature or Kind soever (excepting such Part 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 311 

thereof as is herein after particularly devised) for the following 
Uses and Purposes, that is to say, to the Intent that they, or the 
Survivors or Survivor of them, his Executors, or Administrators, 
as soon as conveniently may be after my Death, shall turn it all 
into ready Money, and lay out the same in purchasing Lands of 
Inheritance in Fee simple, situate in any Province of Ireland, 
except Connaught, but as near to the City of DubUn, as con- 
veniently can be found, and not incumbered with, or subject to 
any Leases for Lives renewable, or any Terms for Years longer 
than Thirty-one : " 

He provides that a considerable sum be laid out in the pur- 
chase of lands near Dublin and a building be erected thereon 
"An Hospital for the Reception of as many Idiots and Lunaticks 
as the annual income of the said lands and worldly Substance 
shall be sufficient to maintain : And, I desire said Hospital may 
be called St. Patrick's Hospital." 

He then goes into great detail as to the management of the 
Hospital. 

"Item : Whereas I purchased the Inheritance of the Tythes of 
the Parish of Essernock near Trim in the County of Meath, for 
Two Hundred and Sixty Pounds Sterling, I bequeath the said 
Tythes to the Vicars of Laracor for the Time being, that is to say, 
so long as the present Episcopal ReUgion shall continue to be 
the National Established Faith and Profession in this Kingdom : 
But whenever any other Form of Christian ReUgion shall become 
the Established Faith in this Kingdom, I leave the said Tythes 
of Essernock to be bestowed, as the Profits come in, to the Poor 
of the said Parish of Laracor, by a weekly Proportion, and by 
such Officers as may then have the Power of distributing Charities 
to the Poor of the said Parish, while Christianity under any Shape 
shall be tolerated among us, still excepting professed Jews, Atheists, 
and Infidels. 

" Item : I bequeath also to the said Martha, the Sum of Three 
Hundred Pounds Sterling, to be paid her by my Executors out 
of my ready Money, or Bank Bills, immediately after my Death, 
as soon as the Executors meet. I leave, moreover, to the said 
Martha, my repeating Gold Watch, my yellow Tortoise Shell 
SnuflP Box, and her Choice of four Gold Rings, out of seven which 
I now possess. 

" Item : I bequeath to Mrs. Mary Swift alias Harrison, Daugh- 
ter of the said Martha, my plain Gold Watch made by Quare ; to 



312 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

whom also I give my Japan Writing Desk, bestowed to me by- 
Lady Worseley, my square Tortoise Shell Snu£P Box, richly lined 
and inlaid with Gold, given to me by the Right Honourable Hen- 
rietta now Countess of Oxford, and the Seal with a Pegasus, 
given to me by the Countess of GranviUe. 

" Item : I bequeath to Mr. Ffolliott Whiteway, eldest Son of the 
aforesaid Martha, who is bred to be an Attorney, the Sum of 
Sixty Pounds ; as also Five Pounds to be laid out in the Purchase 
of such Law Books as the Honourable Mr. Justice Lyndsay, Mr. 
Stannard, or Mr. McAullay shall judge proper for him. 

" Item : I bequeath to my dearest Friend Alexander Pope of 
Twittenham, Esq., my Picture in Miniature, drawn by Zinck, 
of Robert late Earl of Oxford. 

" Item : I leave to Edward now Earl of Oxford, my Seal of Julius 
Caesar, as also another Seal, supposed to be a young Hercules, 
both very choice Antiques, and set in Gold : Both which I chuse 
to bestow to the said Earl, because they belonged to her late 
Most Excellent Majesty Queen Anne, of ever Glorious, Immortal, 
and truly Pious Memory, the real nursing Mother of all her 
Kingdoms. 

" Item : I leave to the Reverend Mr. James Stopford, Vicar of 
Finglass, my Picture of King Charles, the First, drawn by Van- 
dyke, which was given to me by the said James ; as also my large 
Picture of Birds, which was given to me by Thomas, Earl of Pem- 
broke. 

" Item : I bequeath to the Reverend Mr. Robert Grattan, Pre- 
bendary of St. Audeon's, my Gold Bottle Screw, which he gave 
me, and my strong Box, on Condition of his giving the sole Use 
of the said Box to his Brother Dr. James Grattan, during the 
Life of the said Doctor, who hath more Occasion for it, and the 
second best Beaver Hat I shall die possessed of. 

" Item : I bequeath to Mr. John Grattan, Prebendary of Clon- 
methan, my Silver Box in which the Freedom of the City of Cork 
was presented to me ; in which I desire the said John to keep the 
Tobacco he usually cheweth, called Pigtail. 

" Item : I bequeath all my Horses and Mares to the Reverend 
Mr. John Jackson, Vicar of Santry, together with all my Horse 
Furniture: Lamenting that I had not Credit enough with any 
chief Governor (since the Change of Times) to get some addi- 
tional Church Preferment for so virtuous and worthy a Gentle- 
man. I also leave him my third best Beaver Hat. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS. AND FAMOUS WILLS 313 

" Item : I bequeath to the Reverend Doctor Francis Wilson, the 
Works of Plato in three Foho Volumes, the Earl of Clarendon's 
History in the three Folio Volumes, and my best Bible ; together 
with thirteen small Persian Pictures in the Drawing Room, and 
the small Silver Tankard given to me by the Contribution of 
some Friends, whose Names are engraved at the Bottom of the 
said Tankard. 

" Item : I bequeath to the Earl of Orrery the enamelled Silver 
Plates to distinguish Bottles of Wine by, given to me by his ex- 
cellent Lady, and the Half-length Picture of the late Countess of 
Orkney in the Drawing Room. 

" Item : I bequeath to Alexander McAullay, Esq., the Gold Box 
in which the Freedom of the City of Dublin was presented to me, 
as a Testimony of the Esteem and Love I have for him, on Account 
of his great Learning, fine natural Parts, unaffected Piety and 
Benevolence, and his truly honourable Zeal in Defence of the legal 
Rights of the Clergy, in Opposition to all their unprovoked 
Oppressors. 

" Item : I bequeath to Deane Swift, Esq., my large Silver Stand- 
ish, consisting of a large Silver Plate, an Ink Pot, a Sand Box and 
a Bell of the same Metal. 

" Item : I bequeath to Mrs. Mary Barber the Medal of Queen 
Anne and Prince George, which she formerly gave me. 

" Item : I leave to the Reverend Mr. John Worrall my best 
Beaver Hat. 

" Item : I bequeath to the Reverend Doctor Patrick Delany my 
Medal of Queen Anne in Silver, and on the Reverse the Bishops 
of England kneeling before her Most Sacred Majesty. 

" Item : I bequeath to the Reverend Mr. James Bang, Prebendary 
of Tipper, my large gilded Medal of King Charles the First, and 
on the Reverse a Crown of Martyrdom, with other Devices. My 
Will, nevertheless, is, that if any of the above named Legatees 
should die before me, that then, and in that Case, the respective 
Legacies to them bequeathed, shall revert to myself, and become 
again subject to my Disposal. 

" In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my Hand and Seal, 
and published and declared this as my last Will and Testament, 
this Third Day of May, 1740. 

"Jonathan Swift." 



814 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Will of J. M. W. Tubnek, R.A. 

The great painter, J. M. W. Turner, R.A., died in 1851. It is 
unnecessary to quote this lengthy and well-known document ; in- 
deed, we might speak of the unfortunate will and its numerous 
codicils in the plural. 

It was dated June 10, 1831, and was attested by George Cobb, 
John Saxon, and Charles Tall. It is written in various legal 
hands, all except the first codicil, the whole of which is in auto- 
graph. 

After legacies to private friends and servants, and to various 
charities, and the bequests of his valuable works to the nation, 
under very special and stringent conditions, this eccentric, wealthy, 
and benevolent artist ordered that the residue of his estate should 
be devoted to the founding and maintaining of an "institution 
for the support of poor and decayed male artists, born in Eng- 
land and of English parents only, and lawful issue." 

"Unfortunately for the poor artists of England," says Turner's 
biographer, "the will being a most cloudy document, full of con- 
fusions and interpolations, it was disputed by the next of kin, 
who endeavoured to establish that the testator was of unsound 
mind. But this effort to annihilate its vaUdity failed, the testator 
being held to be of sound mind and capable of making a legal 
disposition of his estate. 

"The trustees and executors thereupon filed a bill in Chancery 
on the 25th of April, 1852, praying the court to construe the 
will, and enable them to administer the estate. The next of 
kin, by their answer, contended that since it was impossible 
to place any construction upon the will at all, it was necessarily 
void." 

The testator's property, we may remark, was sworn under 
£140.000. 

The documents in this Chancery suit, which extended to four 
years, are of several tons weight. The bills of costs alone would 
fill a butcher's cart. How Turner would have groaned to see the 
lawyers fattening on his hard-earned savings ! 

A compromise was eventually effected between all parties to 
the suit, and on March 19, 1856, a decree was pronounced, with 
their consent, to the following effect: 

1. The real estate to go to the heir-at-law. 

2. The pictures, etc., to the National GaUery. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 315 

3. £1000 for the erection of the monument in St. Paul's Ca- 
thedral. 

4. £20,000 to the Royal Academy, free of legacy duty. 

5. Remainder to be divided among next of kin. 

Will of Vaugelas 

Claude Favre de Vaugelas the French Grammarian, one of the 
lights of the "Salon Bleu," and honored by the friendship of 
Madame de Rambouillet, was born at Bourg en Bresse in 1585, 
and after making an illustrious name in the annals of Uterature, 
and being rewarded by several pensions, died in a condition of 
abject poverty in Paris, in 1650. It is difficult to account for the 
sad circumstances under which he ended his days, unless, like 
many of the hterary characters found in history, he led a life 
of reckless expenditure, possibly good-naturedly lending to those 
who never repaid him, and generally neglected to keep any kind 
of order in his affairs. 

Fr6ron, in his "Aimde Litt^raire," reports a singular clause in 
his will, but one which does honor to his sense of rectitude and 
hisi conscientiousness. 

"Vaugelas," says he, "died, so to speak, in penury; he was 
so deeply in debt that he was obUged to remain all day at home 
(a single room), and could only go out at night for fear he should 
fall into the hands of his creditors. On this account he was 
named the 'Hibou.' His will was remarkable: after having 
ordered his Uttle all to be sold for the payment of his debts, he 
adds, 'But as, after all has been distributed, there may remain 
some creditors whose claims will not be satisfied, my last will is 
that my body be sold to the surgeons for the highest price that 
can be obtained, and the product appUed to the hquidation of the 
debts I may still owe, so that, if I have been unable to be of any 
use during my life, I may at least serve some purpose after my 
death.'" 

Will of Voltaire 

Among Voltaire's papers was found a note, endorsed "Mon 
Testament," which, on being opened, exhibited these lines in his 

own hand : 

" Je meurs en adorant Dieu, 
En aimant mes amis, 
En ne haissant point mes ennemis. 
En detestant la superstition." 



316 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Voltaire spent his last days in Paris, dying there in 1778. It 
was there Benjamin Franklin took to him his grandson on whom 
he asked Voltaire to pronounce a blessing. Voltaire placed hi» 
hand upon the young man's head, uttering at the same time ia 
Enghsh, "God and Uberty." 



Will of Izaak Walton 

" Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. 
They say unto him, we also go with thee." 

Izaak Walton died December 15, 1683, at the age of ninety, 
and was buried in the north transept of Winchester Cathedral. 
He is best known and loved by his work, "The Compleat Angler, 
or Contemplative Man's Recreation ; " for quaintness and pastoral 
freshness it has never been excelled and has passed through more 
than a hundred editions. Of the book Charles Lamb said: "It 
would sweeten a man's temper at any time to read it." The 
following verses in praise of tobacco, are taken from a poem of 
considerable length, Gosden's edition of the "Journey to Beres- 
ford HaU." 

"Me thinks I see Charles Cotton, and his friend. 
The modest Walton, from Augusta's town, 
Enter the Fishing-house an hour to spend. 
And by the marble table set them down. 

" 'Boy, bring me in the jug of Derby Ale, 
My best tobacco, and my smoking tray;' 
The boy, obedient, brings the rich regale, 
And each assumes his pipe of polished clay. 

" Now cloud on cloud pervades the fishers' room. 
The Moreland Ale rich sparkles to the sight ; 
They draw fresh wisdom from the circling gloom. 
And deal a converse pregnant with delight. 

" Me thinks I see them with the mental eye, 
I hear their lessons with attentive ear, 
Of early fishing with the summer fly. 
And many a pleasing tale to Anglers dear." 

The Fishing-house of Charles Cotton, where Walton visited 
and where Piscator and Viator communed, stood "in a kind of 



ANCIENT. CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 317 

peninsula," as Cotton describes it, "with a delicate clear river 
about it;" this "little house" was on the river Dove in Stafford- 
shire: over the arched door were the words "Piscatoribus Sa- 
crum" and on the Key-stone the Cypher of Cotton and Walton. 
In 1835 this venerable and historic building was restored to 
nearly the same state as when originally built, by its owner, the 
Marquis of Beresford. 

The will of Walton is deposited in the great registry of Eng- 
lish wills at Somerset House, Loudon, and may there be seen by 
the visitor. An exact copy recently taken from the original is 
here given, word for word : 

" In the name of God, Amen : I, Izaak Walton, the elder, of Win- 
chester, being the present day in the ninetyeth yeare of my age 
and in perfect memory, for which praysed be God, but consider- 
ing how suddainly I may be deprived of both, doe therefore make 
this my last will and testament as followeth; and first, I doe 
declare my beleife to be that their is only one God who hath made 
the whole world and mee and all mankind, to whome I shall give 
an account of all my actions which are not to be justified but I 
hope pardoned for all the merrets of my saviour Jesus, and because 
the profession of Christianity does at this time seeme to be sub- 
divided into papist and protestant I take it at least to be con- 
venient to declare my beleife to be in all points of ffaith as the 
Church of England now professeth and this I doe, the rather 
because of a very long and a very true friendship with some of 
the Roman Church and for my worldly estate (which I have 
neither got by falsehood or flattery or the extreame Cruelty of 
the law of this nation) I doe hereby give and bequeath it as fol- 
loweth : first I give my sonne in law Doc* Hawkins and to his wife 
to them I give all my title and right of or in a part of a house and 
shop in Pater noster rowe in London which I hold by lease from 
the Lord Bishop of London for about flSfty years to come, and I 
doe alsoe give to them all my right and title of or to a house in 
Chansery Lane London wherein M^ Greinwood now dwelleth in 
"which is now about sixteene yeares to come I give these two 
leases to them they saving my Executor from all damage con- 
cerning the same ; and I give to my sonne Izaak all my right and 
title to a lease of Norington Farme which I hold from the Lord 
Bishop of Winton and I doe also give him all my right and title 
to a Farme or land neare to Stafford which I bought of Mr. Walter 
Noell ; I say I give it to him and his heires for ever but upon the 



318 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

condicon following namely; if my sonne shall not marry before 
he shall be of the age of forty and one yeare, or being married 
shall dye before the said age and leave noe sonne to inherit the 
said Farme or Land, or if his sonne or sonns shall not live to 
obtaine the age of twenty and one yeares, to dispose otherwayes. 
of it then I give the said Farme or land to the Towne or Corpora- 
tion of Stafford (in which I was borne) for the good and benefit 
of some of the said towne as I shall direct and as foUoweth, but 
first note that it is at this present time rented for twenty one 
pounds tenn shillings a yeare (and is like to hold the said rent if 
care be taken to keepe the barne and houseing in repaire) and I 
wood have and doe give ten pound of the said rent to bind out 
yearly two boyes, the sonns of honest and poore parents, to be 
aprentizes to some Tradesmen or handycraft men to the intent 
the said boyes may the better afterward get their owne liveing; 
and I doe alsoe give five pound yearly out of the said rent to be 
given to some maide Servant that hath attained the age of twenty 
and one yeare (not lesse) and dwelt long in one service or to some 
honest poore mans daughter that hath attained to that age, to 
be paid her at or on the day of her marriage and this being done 
my will is that what rent shall remaine of the said Farme or land 
shall be disposed of as Followeth : first I doe give twenty shillings 
yearly to be spent by the Mayor of Stafford and those that shall 
collect the said rent and dispose of it as I have and shall here- 
after direct, and that what mony or rent shall remaine undisposed 
off shall be imployed to buy Coales for some poore people that 
shall most need them in the said towne, the said Coales to be 
delivered the first weeke in January or in every first weeke in 
February ; I say then because I take that time to be the hardest 
and most pinching times with poore people and God reward those 
that shall doe this without partialitie and with honestie and a 
good conscience ; and if the said Mayor and others of the said 
towne of Stafford shall prove so negligent or dishonest as not to 
imploy the rent by mee given as intended and exprest in this my 
will (which God forbid) then I give the said rents and profitts of 
the said Farme or land to the Towne and cheife magastraits or 
governers of Ecles-hall to be disposed by them in such manner 
as I have ordered the disposall of it by the towne of Stafford, the 
said Farme or land being near the Towne of Ecles-hall; and I 
give to my sonne in Law Doctor Hawkins (whome I love as my 
owne sonn) and to my daughter, his wife, and my sonne Izaak 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 319 

to each of them a ring with these words or motto — "love my 
memory I: W. obiet;" to the Lord Bishop of Winton a ring with 
this motto "a mitt for a million I: W. obiet;" and to the 
friends hereafter named I give to each of them a ring with this 
motto "A friend's farewell I: W. obiet;" and my will is the said 
rings be delivered within forty dayes after my death, and that 
the price or value of all the said rings shall be thirteen shillings 
and four pence a peece. I give to Doctor Hawkins Doctor Donn's 
Sennons, which I have heard preacht and read with much con- 
tent; to my sonn Izaak I give Doctor Sibbs his Soules conflict, 
and to my daughter his brused reed desireing them to read them 
for as to be well acquainted with them; and I alsoe give unto 
her all my bookes at Winchester and Drojcford and whatever in 
those two places are or I can call mine except a Trunck of Linnen 
which I give to my sonne Izaak ; but if he doe not live to Marry 
or make use of it then I give the same to my Granddaughter, 
Anne Hawkins, and I give my daughter Doctor Halls works which 
be now at Farnham: to my sonn Izaak I give all my bookes 
(not yet given) at Farnham Castell and a deske of prints and 
pictures, alsoe a Cabinet nere my bedshead in which are some 
little things that he will value, tho of noe great worth, and my 
will and desire is that he will be kind to his Aunt Beachame and 
his Aunt Rose Ken by allowing the first about fifty shillings a 
yeare in or for Bacon and Cheese (not more) and paying four 
pound a yeare toward the boarding of her sonnes dyet to MT 
John Whitehead; for his Aunt Ken I desire him to be kind to 
her according to her necessity and his own abilitie and I com- 
mend one of her children to breed up (as I have said I intend to 
do) if he shall be able to doe it, as I know he will, for they be 
good folke. I give — to M^ John Darbishire the Sermons of M' 
Anthony Faringdon or of Do' : Sunderson, which my Executor 
thinks fitt: to my servant, Thomas Edghill, I give five pound 
in mony and aU my Clothes linnen and wollen (except one sute of 
Clothes which I give to M^ Holinshed and forty shillings) if the 
said Thomas be my servant at my death, if not my Clothes only ; 
and I give my old friend, M^ Richard Marriot, tenn pound, in 
mony to be paid him within three Months after my death, and I 
desire my sonne to shew kindness to him if he shall neede and 
my son can spare it ; and I doe hereby will and declare my sonn 
Izaak to be my sole Executor of of this my last will and testament 
and doctor Hawkins to see that he performes it, which I doubt 



320 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

not but he will. I desire my burial may be neare the place of my 
death and free from any ostentation or charge but privately: 
this I make to be my last will (to which I shall only add the Cod- 
iceU for rings) this sixteenth day of August, One Thousand Six 
hundred eighty three. Izaak Walton. Witnesse to this will 

"The Rings I give are as on the other side. 

" To my brother, Jon Ken ; to my sister, his wife ; to my brother. 
Doctor Ken ; to my Sister Pye ; to MT Francis Morley ; to W 
George Vernon ; to his wife ; to his three daughter ; to Mristris 
Nelson; to M^ Richard Walton; to M Palmer; to W Taylor; 
to M^ Tho Garrard ; to the Lord Bp of Sarum ; to M^ Rede, his 
servant; to my cozen Dorothy Kenrick; to my Cozen Lewin; 
to MT Walter Higgs ; to M- Charles Cotton ; to W- Rich : Marryot 
22 ; to my brother Beacham ; to my Sister, his wife ; to the Lady 
Anne How; to M"? King Doctor Philips wife; to W- Valentine 
Harecourt ; to IVT? Eliza : Johnson ; to M^ Mary Rogers ; to M? 
Eliza: Milward; to W? Dorothy Wallop; to M^ Will Milward 
of Christ church, Oxford ; to M^ John Darbesheire ; to ]Vf? Une- 
dvill ; to M" Rock ; to W- Peter White ; to M^ John Lloyde ; to 
my Cozen Greinsells widdow, M^ Dalbin, must not be forgotten 
16 ; Izaak Walton note that severall lines are blotted out of this 
will for they were twice repeated and that this will is now Signed 
and Sealed this twenty and fourth day of October, One thousand 
Six hundred eighty three, in the presence of us Witnesse Abra: 
Markland, Jos : Taylor, Thomas Crawley. " 

Will of Duke op Wellington 

Arthur Wellesley, first Duke of Wellington, died September 
14, 1852: he was probably born in Dublin, though both the 
place and date of birth are uncertain. He is buried in St. Paul's 
Cathedral, London. 

His will, taken from the original on file at Somerset House, 
London, is as follows : 

"An attempt having been made to assassinate me on the night 
of the 10th instant, which may be repeated with success, and 
being desirous of settUng my worldly affairs and there being no 
professional person at Paris to whom I can entrust the task of 
drawing my Will, I now draw it in my own hand writing, hereby 
revoking all former Wills particularly one likewise in my own 
hand writing made in the year 1807 previous to the Expedition 
to Copenhagen. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 321 

" I hereby leave to the trustees appointed by Act of Par* to 
carry into execution the objects of the various Grants to me, my 
house in Piccadilly London with its furniture and all I possess in 
money and other valuables in the funds in Exchequer Bills and 
elsewhere according to the schedule annexed in trust for the fol- 
lowing purposes : 

"First: To carry into execution my Marriage Settlement with 
the Duchess of Wellington. 

" Secondly: To pay to all my servants one year's wages beyond 
what may be due to each on the day of my death. 

" Thirdly: To pay all my just debts. 

"Fourthly: To pay to my second son. Lord Charles Wellesley, 
the sum of one thousand pounds per annum for his life, besides 
what he will be entitled to under my Marriage Settlement and 
by the operation of the Acts conveying the Parliamentary Grants 
to my family. In case he should marry or when he will be thirty 
years of age, he is to have the option of continuing to receive this 
annuity or the sum of twenty thousand pounds sterhng which is 
to be paid to him out of the funds aforesaid. 

"Fifthly: To purchase a freehold estate in England with the 
whole money aforesaid or such part thereof as they the said 
trustees may think proper, charging it with the provisions 
above specified for the Duchess of Wellington and Lord Charles 
Wellesley. 

" Sixthly: To give to my eldest son Arthur, Marquis of Douro, 
and the heirs male of his body the use of the House in Picca- 
dilly, of the furniture thereto belonging, and to pay him and the 
heirs male of his body the annual interest which may be received 
for such money in the funds in Exchequer Bills or wherever it 
may be and the rent arising from any estate which the trustees 
may think proper to purchase with the said money. In case of 
the death without heirs male of my eldest son Arthur, Marquis of 
Douro, 

"Seventhly: I give to my second. The Lord Charles Wellesley, 
and the heirs male of his body the use of the said house in Picca- 
dilly and of the furniture thereunto belonging, and to pay him 
The Lord Charles Wellesley and the heirs male of his body the 
annual interest which may be received for such money in the 
funds in Exchequer Bills or wherever it may be and the rent aris- 
ing from any estate which the trustees may think proper to pur- 
chase with the said money. In case of the death without heirs 



322 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

male of my sons, Arthur, Marquis of Douro and Lord Charles 
Wellesley, 

" Eighthly : To give my nephew, Arthur Wellesley, the eldest son 
of my brother The Hble. and Revd. Gerald Wellesley, by Lady 
Emily his wife, and the heirs male of his body, the use of my 
house in Piccadilly and the furniture thereunto belonging, and to 
pay him the said Arthur Wellesley and the heirs male of his body 
the annual interest which may be received for such money in the 
funds in Exchequer Bills or wherever it may be and the rent aris- 
ing from any estate which may be purchased by the trustees with 
the said money. In case of the death of both my sons Arthur, 
Marquis of Douro, and Lord Charles Wellesley and of my nephew, 
Arthur Wellesley, aforesaid all without heirs male, 

"Ninthly: To give to my nephew, Gerald Wellesley, the third 
son of my brother. The Honble. Henry Wellesley, by Lady Char- 
lotte his wife, and the heirs male of his body, the use of my house 
in Piccadilly and the furniture thereunto belonging, and to pay 
him the said Gerald Wellesley and the heirs male of his body the 
annual interest which may be received for such money in the 
funds in Exchequer Bills or wherever it may be and the rent 
arising from any estate which may be purchased by the trustees 
with the said money. In case of the death without heirs male of 
both my sons and both my nephews aforesaid Arthur Wellesley 
and Gerald Wellesley, 

"Tenthly: To give to my nephew Henry Wellesley, the eldest 
son of my brother, the Honble. Henry Wellesley, by Lady Char- 
lotte his first wife, and the heirs male of his body, the use of my 
house in Piccadilly and the furniture thereunto belonging, and to 
pay him the said Henry Wellesley and the heirs male of his body 
the annual interest which may be received for such money in the 
funds in Exchequer Bills or wherever it may be and the rent aris- 
ing from any estate which may be purchased by the trustees with 
the said money. My son Arthur, Marquis of Douro, will have 
all that has been granted to me by Pari*, the Estate granted to 
me by the Cortes and King of Spain, the Pension granted to me 
by the King of Portugal and the Estate granted to me by the 
King of the Netherlands, and in case of his death without heirs 
male, my second son. Lord Charles Wellesley, will succeed to the 
same. In case of the death without heirs male of my two sons 
above mentioned, I leave and bequeath to my nephew Arthur 
Wellesley, the eldest son of my brother Gerald Wellesley, by 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 323 

Lady Emily his wife, and the heirs male of his body all the money 
which has been granted to me by Pari- and the estates purchased 
with the said money. In case of the death without heirs male 
of my sons aforesaid and of my nephew, the said Arthur Welles- 
ley, I leave and bequeath to my nephew Gerald Wellesley, the 
third son of my brother Henry Wellesley, by Lady Charlotte his 
first wife, and the heirs male of his body all the money which has 
been granted to me by Pari* and the estates purchased with the 
said money. In case of the death without heirs male of both my 
sons and nephews aforesaid, I leave and bequeath to my nephew, 
Henry WeUesley the eldest son of my brother Henry Wellesley, 
by Lady Charlotte his wife, and the heirs male of his body all 
the money which has been granted to me by Pari* and the estates 
purchased with the said money. 

" I request the trustees appointed by Pari* to carry into execu- 
tion the objects of the different Grants made to me, to be the 
Guardians of my sons. I wish them both, as well as my nephews 
above mentioned, to serve the King in his Army and that they 
should receive the best education which can be given to them in 
order to qualify them to do so with advantage to the King and 
honour to themselves. They should therefore finish their studies 
at Eton and at one of the Universities, besides obtaining a knowl- 
edge of the Sciences necessary for those who enter the Military 
Profession. 

" I wish my Secretary, Col. Hervey, to take charge of my Private 
papers at Paris and to burn such as he may think proper. 

"Wellington (LS). 

" Signed and Sealed at Paris on the 17th of February, 1818, in 
the presence of — C. Campbell, Col. and Capt. Ad Guards — 
Geo. Cathcart 6th D.G. — Arthur Hill Capt. 2nd Drag^." 



CHAPTER Vn 

WILLS OF FAMOUS AMERICANS 

" . . . The past is all holy to us ; 
Sad and soft in the moonlight of memory." 

Will of John Qxjinct Adams 

John Quinct Adams died February 23, 1848. His will is in 
part as follows : 

"Know all men by these presents, 
"that I, John Quincy Adams, of Quincy in the County of Norfolk 
and Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Doctor of Laws, do make, 
ordain, pubUsh and declare this to be my last will and testament 
hereby revoking all wills by me heretofore made and particularly 
one made on or about the 30th day of October, 1832, the last will 
made by me preceding the present, which has become mislaid 
among my papers so that I cannot find it; I therefore revoke 
and annul the same in all and every particular of the same; of 
which said will, as far as my memory retains it, Joseph Hall, 
Edward Cruft and James H. Foster were subscribing witnesses. 

"1st. I do hereby constitute and appoint my only surviving 
son Charles Francis Adams of Boston Esquire, my sole Executor 
for all my property in this Commonwealth or in the District of 
Columbia or elsewhere; and I direct him hereby to take out 
Letters of Administration as well in the County of Norfolk in 
this Commonwealth as in the County of Washington in the Dis- 
trict of Columbia, and if necessary in the State of Pennsylvania, 
so that he may administer upon any property, real, personal or 
mixed pertaining to me in any part of the United States at the 
time of my decease, and I hereby constitute my said son residuary 
Xegatee of all property, real, personal and mixed belonging to me, 
not otherwise disposed of by this will. 

" 2nd. But in the event of the decease of my said Son, which God 
iorbid, my beloved wife still surviving, I do hereby constitute her 
the Sole Executrix of all my goods, estate and property not pre- 
viously administered, with such assistants as she may name and 

324 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 325 

as may be assented to by the Judge of Probate of the County 
wherein my said will may be proved and approved." 

He gives and bequeaths to his beloved wife Louisa Catherine 
Adams, his dwelling house and lot in the city of Washington, and 
the dwelling house and farm at Quincy "including the lots of Salt 
Marsh heretofore leased in Connexion therewith." 

He also gives to his wife the dweUing-house and land situated 
on F. Street in the city of Washington, being his residence in the 
capital. 

He gives to his said wife the furniture in the dwelling-house at 
Quincy, with the exception of such articles as are specifically other- 
wise bequeathed, also all carriages and horses, china, plate and 
plated ware, as well at Quincy as at Washington, excepting such 
articles thereinafter otherwise bequeathed, and all the wines in the 
cellars and closets in dwelling-houses in both places. 

He gives to his said wife in lieu and as a full equivalent for her 
right of dower in all the rest and residue of his real estate, whether 
in Massachusetts or in Washington, or elsewhere, provided she 
consent to renounce the same, the sum of $2000 per annum, to be 
paid to her during her natural fife, constituting the same a charge 
upon his estate, to be paid to her in cash every year she may live. 

To his son, Charles Francis Adams, he gives all shares and certifi- 
cates of stocks in the Middlesex & Quincy Canals, Braintree and 
Weymouth Turnpike, Banks, Insurance Companies, Markets and 
Hotels; also all interest in mortgages upon real estate and city 
stocks, and generally all and singular the personal property of 
every description, not otherwise bequeathed, in trust upon the 
following conditions and for the following purposes : That he shall, 
" during the natural life of my said wife, Louisa Catherine Adams, 
pay over to her one entire third part of the revenue in each and 
every year ; and of the remaining two-thirds of said revenue, he 
shall reserve one-half to himself and his own use and behoof, and 
of the other half he shall pay over to my daughter-in-law, Mrs. 
Mary Catherine Adams one moiety thereof during her natural 
life, and the remaining moiety to my granddaughter, Mary Louisa 
Adams, daughter of my son John Adams, deceased, and said 
Mary Catherine." 

Upon the death of his wife, Louisa Catherine Adams, a division 
is to be made of the principal of the personal property thus held 
by his son and executor, by which one-half is to be given to his 
said son Charles Francis Adams, and of the income arising from 



326 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

the other half of the same, the sum of $6000 is to be paid to his 
daughter-in-law, Mary Catherine Adams, and the remainder of 
said income and proceeds shall be paid to his granddaughter, 
Mary L. Adams, during the natural life of her mother, and "upon 
the decease of her mother the whole of said half part of said 
property as well as all other personal property held in trust by 
said executor for the benefit of said Mary L. Adams" is to be 
settled upon said Mary L. Adams by said executor. 

He gives to his son, Charles Francis Adams, his estate at Mount 
Wollaston in the town of Quincy, with the dwelling-house and 
bams thereon situated. 

He gives to his son, Charles Francis Adams, and the heirs of his 
body all the rest and residue of real estate, including all wood lots, 
quarry lands and salt marsh, of which he shall die seized within 
the limits of the towns of Quincy, Braintree or Milton : " Provided 
there be secured to be paid by said son, the principal sum of $20,000, 
said sum to be a capital for the benefit of my granddaughter, 
Mary L. Adams." 

He gives to his son, Charles Francis Adams, realty situated in 
Fremont Street and in Court Street, city of Boston, and county 
of Suffolk. 

He gives and bequeaths to his granddaughter, Mary L. Adams, 
the estate in Beach Street, city of Boston, and also the estate of 
which he stands possessed under breach of condition of mortgage 
in Curve Street in Boston, "should the same become mine, as is 
probable, by foreclosure, in regular course of law," also all right, 
title and interest he has or may have in two stores on Eastern Rail- 
way Avenue, in said Boston, over and above amounts for which 
they are respectively mortgaged, to her and her heirs and assigns 
forever. 

He gives to his son, Charles Francis Adams, the estate in Weston, 
in this commonwealth, bequeathed to him by his friend Ward 
Nicholas Boylston, Esq., and the whole of his estate situated in 
city and county of Washington, D.C., consisting of house in F. 
Street, and the land appertaining, subject to life estate already 
granted to his wife, also store and house situated in Pennsylvania 
Avenue, also estate known under name of Columbia Mills, also 
Square numbered 592 and all other lands of which he may die 
seized and possessed in the District of Columbia, to have and to 
hold to him, his heirs and assigns, in trust, however, for the 
benefit of his granddaughter, Mary L. Adams. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 327 

He constitutes and creates a charge upon all various devises of 
real estate made for the benefit of his granddaughter, Mary L. 
Adams ; that out of the annual proceeds, rents and profits of same 
there be paid during the life or widowhood of his mother, Mary 
Catherine Adams, the sum of $600 in each and every year to the 
said Mary Catherine Adams. 

He gives to Elizabeth C. Adams, Isaac H. Adams, John Quincy 
Adams and Joseph H. Adams, surviving children of his brother, 
the late Thos. B. Adams, of Quincy, the house and farm in Brain- 
tree and house and farm in Medford, which were mortgaged to 
him by said brother, and of which he had taken legal possession for 
breach of condition of said mortgage. 

He gives his library of books, manuscript books and papers and 
those of his father and all his family pictures, except such as may 
be therein otherwise specifically devised to his son, Charles Francis 
Adams, "trusting that his mother shall at all times have the use 
of any of the books in the library at her discretion" ; and recom- 
mends that his said son, as soon as suits his own convenience, shall 
"cause a building to be erected, made fireproof, in which to keep 
the said hbrary, books, documents and manuscripts safe, but always 
to be subject to his convenience," and especially recommends to his 
care the said hbrary, manuscripts, books and papers, and that he 
will as far as may be in his power keep them together as one library 
to be transmitted to his eldest son as one property to remain in the 
family, and not to be sold or disposed of as long as may be prac- 
ticable, being always confided to the faithful custody of the person 
holding the legal title in the same. 

He gives to his granddaughter Mary L. Adams, "Portrait of my 
father, painted by Stewart and all the other family portraits now 
in house in F. Street which I occupy." 

He gives to the people of the U.S. of America an ivory cane pre- 
sented to him by Juhus Pratt of Meriden in Connecticut and by him 
deposited in the custody of the Commissioner of Patents at Wash- 
ington to remain in his custody until called for by him, the said 
cane bearing on it an inscription in \honor of the repeal by the 
House of Representatives of a bill prohibiting the reception of 
petitions on the subject of slavery, December 3, 1844. 

He gives to his grandson, John Quincy Adams, son of Charles 
Francis Adams, "a gold-headed cane cut from the timbers of the 
frigate Constitution and presented to me by Minot Thayer, 
Samuel A. Turner, Ebenezer T. Fogg, Solomon Richards and 



328 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Harvey Field, Committee, April 1st, 1837, on the head of which is 
engraved the members of the House of Representatives of Massa- 
chusetts from the several towns of my District in the year 1837, 
in token of their sense of my public services in defending in the 
Congress of the United States the right of petition of the people of 
the U.S. in that body ; and I request my son to have the custody 
of this bequest until his said son John Quincy shall come of age." 

"20th. I give and bequeath to my grandson Charies Francis 
Adams second son of my son, aforesaid, a cane also cut from the 
timbers of the frigate Constitution, and given to me by its Com- 
mander Commodore Isaac Hull in the year 1836, which is marked 
upon a silver ring immediately under the head of said cane. 

"21st. I give to my grandson Henry Brooks Adams, third son 
of my son aforesaid, a cane made of olive from Mount Olivet in 
Jerusalem, given to me by my nephew Joseph Harrod Adams by 
whom it was caused to be cut on the spot, he being personally there 
as an officer of the United States. 

" 22nd. I have given to my daughter A. B. Adams, wife of my 
son Charles Francis Adams, the portfolio of engravings of pictures 
of Colonel Trumbull, presented to me by him. I now give to her 
a silver tankard which was my mother's, from her grandfather 
John Quincy — also the portrait of the said John Quincy at two 
years of age now in her house at Quincy, and that of his mother, 
being Anna Shepard, daughter of the celebrated Thomas Shepard, 
minister of Charleston, by whom the estate at Mount WoUaston 
was bequeathed by will to the said John Quincy. These pictures 
were given to me by will of Norton Quincy, only son of the said 
John Quincy. 

"23rd. I give and bequeath to my friend the Reverend Dr. 
Nathaniel L. Frothingham, a seal with a device of an oak acorn, 
and the motto "alteri seculo' as a small token of my personal 
esteem and friendship for him. 

"24th. I give and bequeath to my friend Dr. George Parkman 
of Boston a seal enchased with the image of General George Wash- 
ington as a small token of the esteem and affection which I bear 
to him. 

"25th. I give and bequeath to my grandson John Quincy 
Adams my " Chronometer made by French, bearing his initials, 
being the same as my own, to be kept by his father until he shall 
think proper to deliver it to him. 

"26th. I give to my granddaughter Mary Louisa Adams, my 



ANCIENT, CUEIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 329 

seal bearing a Lion engraved upon a Silesian stone, which I had 
engraved there at the time of my tour through that country ; the 
gold medal presented to me by the Corporation of the City of New 
York struck on the opening of the Grand Canal, the silver cup with 
the inscription 'Circes pocula nosti' — and the seal engraved on 
a Sardonyx with my cipher on one side and the Boylston arms on 
the other. I give all otBfer medals, coins, or presents of small 
value which I have received, a silver wafer box, and pair of portable 
candlesticks, my own cushion, seal at arms on a cornelian and my 
seal with the device of the Eagle and Lyre to my son Charles 
Francis Adams. Also a bronze medal given to me by Commodore 
Jesse D. EUiot struck by his order in honor of Thomas Cooper 
Esqr. and also another medal in silver which he directed to be 
given to the historical society of Rhode Island, refused by that 
society shortly before his death and held by me subject to their 
order. Also the history of the Croton Aqueduct a present from 
the City of New York. 

"27th. I give to my daughters in law Mary Catharine Adams, 
widow of my son John Adams, and to Abigail Brown Adams, 
wife of my son Charles Francis Adams, one hundred dollars each 
to purchase some permanent token of remembrance of me which 
they may leave to their daughters ; and I further give to my said 
daughter Mary Catherine Adams the clock with the device of 
Penelope in my chamber at Washington. 

"28th. I give to my nephew and namesake John Quincy 
Adams my small seal with my cipher engraved upon a cornelian; 
and a pair of gold sleeve buttons, with the motto 'aequam memento 
servare memtem' which I wore when I was President of the 
United States." 

He gives to each of his two granddaughters, Mary Louise Adams, 
daughter of his son, John Adams, deceased, and to Louisa Catherine 
Adams, daughter of his son, Charles Francis Adams, one-half of 
the sums deposited in his name in the Institution for Savings in the 
City of Boston, the said sums to remain on deposit there until the 
thirteenth day of August 1852, when the younger of the two 
would, if living, attain the age of twenty-one years. 

"30th. I also give to my son Charles Francis Adams and to his 
heirs and assigns the Pew numbered Fifty four in the Stone Meet- 
ing house at Quincy, also the Pew in the Gallery Numbered Five, 
and the family tomb in the grave yard opposite the said meeting 
house. 



330 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

"31st. I also give to my wife Louisa Catherine Adams the pew 
which I own in St. Johns Church at Washington, and also the 
pew which I own in Christ Church at Quincy. 

"32nd. I give and devise to the supervisors of the Adams 
Temple and school fund at Quincy all the remaining pews in the 
Stone Meeting house at Quincy of which I retain the property to 
be by them held or sold as in their judgfiient shall be deemed best ; 
and the proceeds of the same shall be applied to the erection of a 
stone school house over the cellar which was under the house 
formerly built by the Reverend John Hancock, conformably to the 
deed of gift of my deceased father John Adams, of the twenty fifth 
of July in the year eighteen hundred and twenty two to the Inhabit- 
ants of the Town of Quincy. 

"33rd. I give and bequeath to my cousin Louisa Catherine 
Smith the sum of fifty dollars per annum as an annuity to be paid 
by my Executor during her life and as a sUght token of my regard 
for her. 

"In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal at 
the City of Boston this Eighteenth day of January in the year of 
our Lord eighteen hundred and forty seven. 

"John Quinct Adams." 

Will or Captain John Alden 

The gravestone of Captain John Alden, who died at Boston, 
Massachusetts, on the 14th day of March, 1702, at 5 o'clock in the 
afternoon, at the age of seventy-five, is now in the porch of the 
New Old South Church. He was the son of John Alden who was 
engaged in making repairs on the Mayflower at Southampton, 
and sailed in her with the Pilgrim Fathers, afterwards marrying 
Priscilla MuUens, whose name is familiarized by Longfellow's poem, 
"The Courtship of Myles Standish." 

Captain John Alden's will is dated the seventeenth day of 
February, 1701. He directed that his body should be decently 
buried, at the discretion of his executors in said will named. 
After the payment of his just debts and funeral expenses and 
legacies, the remainder of his estate in "housing, lands, money, 
plate, debts, goods & moveables wheresoever lying or to be found," 
was to be divided into five equal parts or shares : one part was to 
be given to his son, John Alden, and the remaining fifths divided 
among other children and grandchildren. And his children are 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 331 

given the liberty of using his kitchen "for washing, brewing and 
baking" and all his garden "for the hanging and drying of their 
cloathes." 

Will of Benedict Arnold 

Benedict Arnold, the traitor of his country, died in London, 
June 14, 1801. Any one interested in seeing the original of his 
will can find it in the Recorder's Office at Somerset House, Lon- 
don. As many of our readers will be interested in knowing how 
he ended his days, his last will is here given in full : 

"I, Benedict Arnold of the city of London, being of sound mind 
and memory, do make and constitute this my last will and testa- 
ment in manner following : 

"Imprimis. It is my will that all my just debts and funeral 
expenses be first paid, the latter I request may be only decent, but 
by no means attended with any expense that can be possibly 
avoided. 

"Item. I give to my sister Hannah Arnold forty pounds ster- 
ling per annum during her natural life, to be paid to her annually 
out of the interest of such monies or income of such estate as I 
may die possessed of, provided she shall and does give up to my 
heirs or executors all obligations that she may have against me 
and also does relinquish all claims against my estate except for 
the annuity before mentioned. 

"Item. I give and bequeath to my sons Richard and Henry 
all sums of money that they are in anywise indebted to me and 
having in the course of the last and present year written to them 
to draw Bills of Exchange upon me in London for the following 
sums of money, vizt: -one hundred and eighty pounds sterling 
(to make up a sum of three hundred pounds part of which I have 
paid to them) to enable them to build and stock their farm in 
Canada, also two hundred and thirty pounds sterling to enable 
them to pay two protested BUls as also three hundred and sixty 
pounds sterling to enable them to pay all their debts due in January 
1801, to the total amount adding these sums, of seven himdred 
and seventy pounds sterling. I give and bequeath the before 
mentioned sums of money to my sons Richard and Henry equally, 
and it is my will and pleasure that their Bills of Exchange for the 
before mentioned sums be honored by my executors and paid out 
of the estate I may die possessed of. 

"Item. I give, devise and bequeath to my beloved wife, heirs. 



S32 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

executors and administrators all my estate both real and personal 
that I may die possessed of, after paying my debts and legacies 
as before and hereinafter mentioned, for her own use and benefit 
during her continuing a widow and to be disposed of among all 
my children at her death, as she may think proper not doubting 
her doing them all equal justice; but should she marry again, 
then it is in that case my will and pleasure that all my property 
shall be divided among my children upon her second marriage, and 
in that case I do hereby give, devise and bequeath all my estate 
both real and personal that I now have or may die possessed of to 
my children to be divided among them in such equal proportions 
as my beloved wife shall think just and proper, consideration being 
had for the sums of money that they have already received and 
that have been expended upon them for their education &c ; and 
consideration being also had to their respective ages and situations 
in life not doubting that she will do them all equal justice as she 
well knows it is and has always been my intention (as my affection 
has been equally divided amongst them) to make an equal provi- 
sion for them all. 

"Item. I give, devise and bequeath to John Sage, now in 
Canada living with my sons there (being about fourteen years of 
age) twelve hundred acres of land being part of a Grant of thirteen 
thousand four hundred acres of land made to me as an half-pay 
Ofl5cer for myself and family by Order of the Duke of Portland 
by his letter directed to Peter Russel Esquire President of the 
Council in Upper Canada, dated the 12 June 1798, which said 
1200 acres of land I give to him to be counted altogether in one 
place out of the before mentioned grant as my executrix may judge 
equal and fair. I also do hereby give and bequeath to the said 
John Sage twenty pounds per annum to be paid to my sons Richard 
and Henry for his use for board cloathing and education until he 
shall be of the age of twenty-one years, to be paid out of the estate 
I may die possessed of. I also give and bequeath to the said John 
Sage fifty pounds, to be paid to him when he shall attain the age of 
twenty one years. I do hereby constitute and appoint my beloved 
wife sole Executrix to this my last will and testament and in case 
my wife should marry again or die intestate I do hereby constitute 
and appoint Miss Ann Fitch and Miss Sarah Fitch of Devonshire 
Street joint trustees to manage my estate and carry this my will 
into execution, and they are hereby authorised (should it be neces- 
sary to sell any part of my real estate for that purpose) to give 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 333 

receipts to the purchasers for the purchase money, which shall be 
considered as good and valid ; but should my wife die intestate 
I do hereby give, devise and bequeath to all my children all my 
estate both real and personal that I may die possessed of, after 
paying my legacies &c to be divided among them in the following 
manner, vizt: the whole to be divided into twelve equal shares 
& to Sophia I give four shares, to William I give two shares, to 
George I give two shares, and to Richard, Henry, Edward and 
James I give each one share, and I do hereby appoint the before 
named trustees to see the same carried into execution, and I do 
hereby constitute and appoint my beloved wife sole Executrix of 
this my last will and testament, in witness whereof, I have here- 
unto set my hand and seal in London this 30th day of August in 
the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred. 

"Benedict Arnold." 

WiLii OF John James Audubon 

John James Audubon died January 27, 1851. His will is a 
short document and is as follows : 

"In the Name of God Amen. 

"I, John James Audubon of the City and State of New York 
do make and publish this my last Will and Testament as follows : 

" 1st. First : I order and direct that all my just debts and funeral 
expenses be paid as soon after my decease as conveniently can be 
done. 

"2d. Second: I give devise and bequeath to my wife Lucy 
Audubon and to my two sons Victor Gifford Audubon and John 
Woodhouse Audubon all my real and personal property of what- 
ever nature or kind soever excepting my household furniture 
articles of silver and silver plate share and share alike. 

"3rd. Thirdly: I give, devise and bequeath to my wife all my 
household furniture articles of silver and silver plate. 

"Lastly. I nominate, constitute and appoint my said two sons 
Executors and my wife Executrix of this my last Will and Testa- 
ment hereby revoking and annulling all other and former Wills 
by me made. 

"In witness whereof I have hereunto signed my name and 
aflBxed my seal this nineteenth day of April in the year of our 
Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty one. 

"John James Audubon." 



334 ANCIENT. CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Will of Phineas Tatlob Babntxm 
Phineas Taylor Barnum died April 7, 1891. The Probate 
Court of Bridgeport, Connecticut, will, on request, furnish you with 
a copy of his will; it would seem that printer's ink is used by 
Barnum's executors, following the testator's example, for the will 
is in the shape of a booklet containing fifty-three pages, and is the 
most lengthy testamentary document which has come under our 
observation. The legacies and gifts under it exceed one hundred 
and fifty in number and several million dollars in amount. Then 
are added to the will, eight codicils of unusual length and of great 
particularity. The will itself is dated the 30th day of January, 
1882, the last codicil, the year in which he died, 1891. 

By the will, the testator gives an annuity of $9000 to his wife, 
Nancy, together with the use of certain personal property ; there 
is also given her, the use for life of his residence, "Waldemere," 
which was a villa in imitation of the Brighton Pavilion. He says : 
"I love the pleasant city of my adoption (Bridgeport), and ar- 
dently hope for its moral and material improvement ; a large share 
of my income, during my residence here of nearly forty years, has 
been devoted to its public and private charities, and to improving 
and developing its parks, avenues, and its waste places, erecting 
houses, factories, &c. Having thus preferred to see my money 
used here, under my own eyes, rather than to leave it to be used by 
others." There is an annuity of $1500 given a daughter, Helen, 
during her natural life, subject to certain legacies and annuities ; 
the residue of his estate is placed in the hands of trustees to be 
divided equally between a daughter, Caroline C. Thompson, the 
children of a deceased daughter, Pauline T. Seeley, and the chil- 
dren of a daughter, Helen M. Buchtel. The old family Bible, the 
bust of Jenny Lind, and the contract with Jenny Lind, are given 
to his daughter, Caroline : seven gifts of books are made to pub- 
lishers, "as a faint recognition of the Public Press, to which I am 
so much indebted." 

From the profits of the "show business," the executors are 
directed to reserve a fund of $200,000, "to meet the outlays yearly 
required for the successful prosecution of said business in an 
honorable, respectable and strictly moral manner with a view to 
refine and elevate such recreations and to edify and instruct as 
well as innocently amuse those who attend them ; and the agents 
employed for the purpose must be qualified and of temperate 
habits, and undoubted integrity." 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 335 

By the first codicil, a diamond stud is given to his wife, Nancy, 
to be hers absolutely : ntimerous bequests are made, many of 
them for charitable purposes, including an endowment fund for 
"Bamum Institute" for scientific purposes. The testator states, 
that having no son, the name Barnum will not be continued, and 
on condition that his grandson, CHnton H. Seeley, will call himself 
Bamum Seeley, and take legal steps to change his name, he is to 
receive $25,000. 

In codicil number two, numerous bequests and legacies are made, 
and an estimated value of three million dollars is placed on his 
estate. Reference is made to a gift of $2500 for "preaching the 
Gospel and distributing Universalist Literature." 

Codicil number three revokes certain provisions of codicil 
number one. 

Codicil number foiu* contains legacies to Tufts College, the 
Barnum Museum of Natural History, Bridgeport Scientific Society, 
and other institutions, including the "Boys' Club" and "Girls' 
Club" of Bridgeport. 

Codicil number five gives to the city of Bridgeport $1000 for 
the erection of a statue of Henry Bergh, the founder of the society 
for the prevention of cruelty to animals. To his wife, Nancy, he 
gives, absolutely, $100,000 and $40,000 a year during her natural 
life, these in lieu of the legacies and aimuities given her by the will 
and former codicils. 

Codicil number six directs that Thomas Ball, a sculptor, of 
Florence, Italy, be consulted with reference to a piece of orna- 
mental statuary to be placed on the testator's burial lot, not to 
exceed in cost $8000. 

Codicil number seven gives $500 to his family physician, as a 
mark of gratitude. 

Codicil number eight mentions the erection of a building in 
Bridgeport, to be known as "The Barnum Institute of Science and 
History." 

Will of Henky Ward Beecheb 

Henry Ward Beecher died March 8, 1887. His will is as fol- 
lows: 

"In the Name of God, Amen. 

"I, Henry Ward Beecher, of the City of Brooklyn, and State of 
New York, hereby revoking all, other and former Wills by me 
heretofore made, do make, publish and declare this to be my last 
Will and Testament. 



336 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

"I. I hereby authorize and direct my Executors, or such of 
them as shall quaUfy, upon my death to collect and receive the 
amount of my life insurance, to invest the same, and to pay the 
proceeds of such investment to my wife during her life, in equal 
quarter yearly payments. 

"II. I hereby give, bequeath and devise unto my executors, or 
such of them as shall qualify, the rest, residue and remainder of 
my estate, both real and personal, of every kind, in trust for the 
benefit of my children. And I hereby direct that my said Execu- 
tors, distribute and apportion my said estate, among my said chil- 
dren, in such manner and form, and at such time or times, as shall 
in their Judgment be for the best interest of my said children; 
giving unto my said Executors full powers to sell and Mortgage 
such and so much of my real and personal property, as they shall 
deem best, and to invest or distribute the proceeds of such sale or 
sales, as herein provided. 

"III. It is my Will, that, if any of my said children should die, 
before the complete distribution of my estate as above provided, 
leaving issue them surviving, that such issue shall stand and take 
in the place and stead of their parent, taking per stirpes, and not 
per capita. 

"IV. I hereby nominate, constitute and appoint my sons, Henry 
B. Beecher, William C. Beecher and Herbert F. Beecher, all of 
Brooklyn, New York, and my son-in-law. Rev. Samuel Scoville, of 
Norwich, New York, the Executors and Trustees of this my will, 
and it is my will that no bonds shall be required of them or either 
of them. 

"July 11th 1878. "Henkt Wakd Beecheh." 

Will of Thomas H. Benton 

Thomas H. Benton died April 10, 1858. His will is as follows : 

"I, Thomas H. Benton of the State of Missouri, now in the City 
of Washington in the District of Columbia, do make and publish 
this my last will and testament, hereby revoking any and all wills 
made by me at any time heretofore. 

"I hereby constitute and appoint my sons in law William Car- 
vey Jones, John C. Fremont and Richard Taylor Jacob, and my 
friends Montgomery Blair and Samuel Philhps Lee, to be executors 
of this my last will and testament. 

"After the payment of my just debts and charges, should there 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 337 

be any such at the time of my death, I dispose of my estate as 
follows : 

"I give, devise and bequeath to my said executors and the survivor 
of them, and the heirs, executors, administrators and assigns of such 
sm-vivor, my house and lot on C Street in said Washington city, now 
occupied by me, with all my furniture and other personal property, 
except my books, in trust to hold the same to the sole and separate 
use of my daughter Mrs. Ehza P. C. Jones, free from any control 
by, or habihty for or on account of, her present or any future 
husband, and subject to such direction as to the disposition of the 
same as she may at any time give in writing to my said executors 
and trustees or to any of them ; and should she in writing direct the 
said property, or any part thereof, to be commuted for other prop- 
erty, then to hold the property so received in commutation on the 
same trust as aforesaid. It is my intention and will that my said 
daughter Mrs. Eliza P. C. Jones may, if she be so pleased, direct the 
property hereby devised in trust for her, or any part thereof, to be 
sold, and receive and enjoy the proceeds of such sale. 

"I give and bequeath all my Ubrary of books to my said son-in- 
law William Carvey Jones. 

" I hereby will and direct that out of the first moneys which may 
be paid to my estate under subsisting contracts for a certain number 
of years with Messrs. Appleton & Co. of New York, publishers of 
my Uterary works, and out of the first proceeds of the sale thereof, 
my said executors shall pay to my daughter Mrs. Eliza P. C. Jones 
the sum of ten thousand dollars, and to my daughter Mrs. Susan T. 
Boileau the smn of five thousand dollars, or invest the same in trust 
for their sole and separate use respectively, as they may respectively 
direct, — and that my said executors shall divide the residue of 
the moneys which may arise, as the same shall be received from 
my Hterary works, equally among my four daughters Mrs. Eliza 
P. C. Jones, Mrs. Jessie Ann Fremont, Mrs. Sarah McD. Jacob and 
Mrs. Susan T. Boileau, or invest the same in trust for their sole 
and separate use respectively, as they may respectively direct. 

"And I hereby will and direct that it shall be competent for 
any two of my aforesaid Executors and Trustees, to do any act in 
relation to the premises which the whole five could do. In witness 
whereof I have hereto set my hand and seal this thirteenth day of 
September in the year eighteen hundred and fifty-seven. 

" Thomas H. Benton." 



338 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Will of Jambs G. Blaine 

James G. Blaine died January 27, 1893. His will is a brief 
instrument, and is as follows: 

"I, James G. Blaine of Augusta in the State of Maine, at present 
residing in the City of Washington, D.C., being of sound and 
disposing mind and memory do make, publish and declare this to 
be my last will and testament hereby revoking all former wills by 
me at any time made. 

"1. I direct my executor hereinafter named to pay my just 
debts and funeral expenses. 

"2. I give and bequeath to my daughter Margaret, to my son 
James, and to my daughter Harriet, to each the sum of fifty dollars : 

"3. I give and bequeath to my grandchildren Emmons Blaine, 
Blaine Coppinger and Conor Coppinger, to each the sum of twenty 
five dollars : 

"4. All the rest and residue of my property, real, personal or 
mixed wheresoever situate which I now own or may hereafter 
acquire and of which I shall die seized or possessed I give, devise 
and bequeath absolutely and in fee simple to my wife Harriet S. 
Blaine, her heirs and assigns forever : 

"5. I name, constitute and appoint my said wife Harriet S. 
Blaine, Executrix of this my last will and testament, and I request 
that my Executrix be not required to give bond for the performance 
of her duty as such. 

"Witness my hand this seventh day of January a.d. 1892. 

" James G. Blaine." 

Will of Edwin T. Booth 

Edwin T. Booth died June 7, 1893. His will is as follows : 

"I, Edwin Thomas Booth, Actor, do make, publish and declare 
this my last Will and Testament. 

"First : I order and direct that all my just debts be paid as soon 
after my decease as may be practicable. 

"Second : I give and bequeath to my Brother Joseph A. Booth, 
Ten thousand ($10,000) dollars. 

"To my niece Marie Booth Douglass, Ten thousand ($10,000) 
dollars. 

"To my nieces and nephews Asia, Clarke Morgan, Andrienne 
Clarke, Junius B. Booth, Sidney Booth, Creston Clarke and Wilped 
Clarke, to each Five thousand ($5000) dollars. 

"To my Cousins Charlotte Mitchell of Baltimore and Robert 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 339 

Mitchell of North Carolina, to each, Twenty-five hundred ($2500) 
dollars. 

"To my friend Mrs. Maria Anderson, Five thousand ($5000), 
dollars. 

"To my friends John H. Magonigle and his wife Catherine, to 
each Ten thousand ($10,000) dollars. 

"To my friend Mrs. Margaret DevUn, a sister of Mrs. Catherine 
Magonigle Five thousand ($5000) dollars. 

"To the 'Actors Fund,' the 'Actors Order of Friendship,' 
both of the City of New York, the 'Actors Order of Friendship' 
of Philadelphia, the 'Trustees of the Masonic Hall and Asylum 
Fund of New York' and the 'Home for Incurables' at West 
Farms, New York, to each. Five thousand ($5000) dollars. 

"Third. I order and direct that my Executors transfer and 
convey all the rest, residue and remainder of my estate, real and 
personal to the Central Trust Company of New York, as Trustee 
for the following uses and purposes : That said Trustee invest and 
re-invest the same and pay the income thereof to my daughter 
Edwina Booth Grossmann during her natural Ufe and upon her sole 
and separate receipt, and that upon her decease the said Trustee 
divide the said principal of said Trust together with the income 
accrued thereon into as many parts as my said daughter shall 
leave children her surviving, the issue of any deceased child of 
my said daughter counting one in making such division and pay the 
income of one of such portions to each of her said children until 
he or she shall attain the age of twenty one years, in which event, 
the principal of such portion shall be paid to him or her. 

"In the event any of her children shall die before attaining the 
age of twenty one years without leaving issue the portion which 
he or she woidd have received if living at that age, shall be divided, 
added to and disposed of as part of the portions of the other chil- 
dren surviving or of their issue if deceased. 

"The issue of any deceased child of my said daughter shall in 
every event take what its parent would have taken if living at the 
time of the decease of my daughter. 

"Fourth: I authorize and empower my Executors or any of 
them who may quahfy as such Executors their survivor or sur- 
vivors, successor or successors to sell and convey at Public Auction 
or private sale and upon such terms as they may approve any or 
all of the real or personal estate of which I shall die possessed 
wheresoever the same may be situate. 



340 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

"Fifth: I authorize and empower my Trustee hereinbefore 
named or its successor in said Trust, to hold and retain any 
security, bonds, stocks or investments of which I shall die pos- 
sessed as part of the said Trust fund to be held by it under this 
my Will. 

"Sixth: I hereby nominate and appoint my friends Elias C. 
Benedict, WiUiam Bispham and John H. Magonigle, all of New 
York City, Executors of this my last Will and Testament hereby 
revoking all other and former WiUs by me made and I request 
that no bond or other security be required from my said Executors 
for the faithful performance of their trust. 

"In Witness Whereof I have hereimto signed my name and 
affixed my seal this Fifteenth day of June a.d. 1892. 

" Edwin T. Booth." 



Will of David J. Bbeweh 

David J. Brewer, late Chief Justice of the United States, died on 
March 29, 1910. 

His will, together with a codicil thereto, is as follows : 

"In the name of God ; Amen — 

"I David J. Brewer being of sound mind & memory do make 
pubUsh & declare the following to be my last wiU & testament — 

"Item First — 

" I give & devise my home No. 1923 —16th Str. N. W. Washmg- 
ton D.C. to my wife Emma M. Brewer — the legal title is now in 
her — Probably this is sufficient, but as most of the cost was paid 
by me, I make this devise to avoid all question — 

"Item Second — 

" I give devise & bequeath to my daughters Harriet B. Jetmore, 
Henrietta B. Karrick & Elizabeth B. Wells, share & share alike, 
my cottage at Thompson's Point with all the personal property in 
or connected with it — On the 35th anniversary of my marriage 
to my then wife Louise L. Brewer I deeded this property to her — 
whether such a deed from husband to wife is good under the laws 
of Vermont I do not know & so make this devise & bequest to avoid 
all question of our children's fuU title — 

"Item Third — 

" I have $30,000 life insurance which was made payable to my 
wife Louise L. Brewer — I find in the several policies diflferent 
provisions respecting the beneficiaries in case of her death — To 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 341 

cany out the intent with which these policies were taken out I 
give & bequeath to my said daughters, share and share aUke, those 
policies & all sums which may be due thereon — The pohcy in the 
N. Y. Mutual provides for a 20 year 5 per ct. gold bond — I desire 
that this be taken out in the name of Harriet B. Jetmore & be her 
share in said life insurance — I prefer a registered bond if obtain- 
able — 

"Item Fourth — 

" I give & bequeath to my wife Emma M. Brewer all the furni- 
ture, including therein pictures, in my home, which has been pur- 
chased since our marriage — 

" Item Fifth — 

"I give & bequeath all other personal property to my said 
daughters share & share alike — 

" I appoint my wife Emma M. Brewer & my son in law James L. 
Karrick to execute this my will & desire that no bonds be required 
of them. 

"In witness whereof I have hereto signed my name this 25th 
day of Oct., 1906. » ^^^^ j Bbeweb." 

CODICIIi TO THE FOREGOING WILL 

"I David J. Brewer the testator in said will attach thereto & 
make the following additional provisions — 

"Item (1) The gold watch given me by the lawyers of Leaven- 
worth County, I give unto my grandson David Brewer Karrick 
— the watch given me by my wife Emma M. Brewer I give to her 
grandnephew David Brewer Hall — the ring I wear on the little fin- 
ger of my left hand given me by my wife Louise L. Brewer I give to 
my grandson David Brewer Jetmore — my scrap books & the books 
edited by me as well as the bound volumes of my talks & writings 
I give to my daughter Etta B. Karrick — the Bible given me by my 
wife Louise L. Brewer I give to my granddaughter Harriet Louise 
Jetmore — Out of my other personal property I wish my executor 
& executrix to select for each of my grandchildren not specifically 
named herein some suitable article as a special gift from grand- 
father — 

"Item (2) I wish to be buried in Leavenworth by the side of my 
wife Louise L. Brewer — 

"Item (3) In case of the death of my wife Emma M. Brewer 
before my own death then I direct that all the gifts to her are an- 



842 ANCIENT. CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

nulled & revoked & my entire property with the special bequests 
excepted I give devise & bequeath to my daughters share & share 
ahke — In witness whereof I have hereto set my hand & seal this 
7th day of March 1908. „ ^^^^^ j 5^^^^... 

Will of Aaron Btjbb 

Aaron Burr died September 14, 1836. His will is in part as 
foUows : 

"I, Aaron Burr, of the City of New York, now residing at number 
23 Nassau Street, do make and pubHsh this my Last Will and 
Testament as follows : I appoint Matthew L. Davis, Peter Town- 
send, and Henry P. Edwards, Attorney and Counsellor at Law, my 
Executors. I give the charge and custody of my private papers 
to the said M. L. Davis, to be disposed of at his discretion. I pro- 
pose in a Codicil to be hereunto annexed to give a list of my debts, 
and to point out the resources from which they are to be paid, and 
I authorize my said Executors to settle aU suits and claims which 
I may have against any person whatsoever, and to give receipts 
and acquittances thereupon, and to seU any land or real estate to 
which I may be entitled at the time of my death, and to give deeds 
therefor. And I do hereby revoke and annul all former and other 
Wills and Testaments by me made. In Testimony whereof I have 
hereunto subscribed my name, this twenty-first day of April, in the 
year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty four. 

" Witnesses : " A. Bubb." 

" Chakles F. Hill, 
" Henry Oscar Taylor." p 342 

There are three codicils of considerable length to this will. A 
part of one codicil reads as follows : 

"I direct that all my private papers, except my law papers ap- 
pertaining to suits now depending, be deKvered to my friend, 
Matthew L. Davis, Esq., to be disposed of at his discretion, directing 
him nevertheless to destroy or to deliver to the parties interested, 
all such as may in his estimation be calculated to affect injuriously 
the feeKngs of individuals against whom I have no complaint." 

Another item reads : 

"I give to my friend and kinsman, Theodosia Provost, the 
picture of my daughter, which is enamelled on a china cup, which is 
beheved to be in the upper drawer of my yellow desk." 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 343 

Wiuj of Benjamin F. Butleh 

Benjamin F. Butler died January 11, 1893. A copy of his will, 
together with a codicil thereto, is as follows : 

" In the Name of God Amen. I, Benjamin F. Butler of Lowell, 
Esquire, being of sound and disposing mind and memory do make 
and pubUsh this my last will and testament. 

" First. After payment of all my just debts and liens — upon my 
estatfe I direct as much thereof as will raise the simi of one hundred 
and forty dollars nett income to be securely invested and said amoimt 
paid semi-annually to my Mother Charlotte Butler, which with the 
Estate upon Willow Street, of which I have given her a life lease upon 
a nominal Rent is all that I feel myself able to secure to my Mother 
for her declining years, and I hope and trust that my brother Andrew 
wUl add enough to make her independent as I have endeavored to 
relieve her from want. This sum to be paid her during her natural 
life or untill she shall recieve a pension from Government equal at 
least to such sum during her said life. 

" Second. All the rest and residue of my estate real personal or 
mixed, saving some specific legacies I bequeath and devise as 
follows : The use and improvement of one entire and just third 
thereof to my wife Sarah H. Butler during her natural life whether 
she shall remain sole after my decease or marry again. But in 
case of her marriage then to be her seperate estate free from all 
control of her husband. 

" Third. The remainder of my estate is to be equally divided 
between the children of myself and wife in esse at the time of my 
decease. The portion thereof which may go to any female child 
of mine to be her own seperate estate and free from all control of 
her husband whensoever she may marry. 

" Fourth. To my Br ther Andrew my seal ring with my love 
in token of affection. 

" Fifth. To F. A. Hildreth my watch & chain and I commend 
to his care my wife and children ; he knows my affairs and will 
deal justly by them ; and, 

" Lastly, I appoint my, beloved wife sole executrix of this my last 
will & testament with full faith that right will be done to all. 

" Signed, sealed and published as my last will and testament in 
presence of the witness whose names are hereto affixed this third 
day of July in the year one thousand eight hundred and fifty four. 

"Benj. F. Butleh." 



344 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

" Be it remembered that I, Benj. F. Butler, the above named testa- 
tor being about to depart upon a dangerous service do alter this 
my last will and testament in this. Having sold the estate on 
Willow Street herein spoken of and bought another whereon my 
mother now lives, consisting of two houses one of which is now 
rented, I devise and bequeath to my Mother the use and improve- 
ment of all said estate during her natural life instead of the estate 
sold. This with the sum of money bequeathed to her or her pen- 
sion will take care of her in comfort during her life. 

"Witness my hand and seal, published as my last will and codicil 
this twentieth day of February in the year one thousand eight 
htmdred and sLsty two. 

"Benj. F. Butlee." 

Will of Salmon P. Chase 

Salmon P. Chase died May 7, 1873. A copy of his will is as 
follows : 

"I appoint Henry D. Cooke of Washington, sole Executor of 
this my last Will and Testament. 

" I require that all my just debts be paid and discharged from the 
assets which will come into his hands. 

"Of the residue it is my will that an income at Seven per cent 
on Six Thousand Dollars be paid to my Niece, Jane Auld, during 
her life, and that if her daughters survive her that the principal 
thereof be paid to them equally. 

"It is my further will that of the residue of my Estate there be 
transferred to the Wilberforce University, Nine Thousand Dollars, 
in a bond or bonds of the Western Union Telegraph Company, and 
One Thousand Dollars in a bond of the Cleveland and Pittsburg 
Railroad Company ; and to Dartmouth College Three Thousand 
Dollars in the bonds of the Washington and Georgetown Railroad 
Company, and Seven Thousand Dollars in the bonds of the Warren 
and Franklin Railroad Company. 

" It is my will that whatever sum may be due to me from my late 
brother Edward I. Chase, may be wholly remitted to his widow and 
administratrix, of Lockport, N.Y. 

"I bequeath the picture of Chief Justice Marshall, presented to 
me by the members of the Bar and other citizens of New York, to 
the United States for the use of the Supreme Court. 

"It is my will that the remainder of my Estate be distributed in 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 345 

equal parts to my two dear Children, Katharine Chase Sprague and 
Janet Ralston Chase. 

"I commit my Soul to the mercies of God, in Christ Jesus our 
Saviour, through the Holy Spirit. 

"Signed and sealed in the presence of Jacobs W. Schuckers and 
R. C. Parsons as my last WiU and Testament this 19th day of 
November in the year of Our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred 
and Seventy. 

"S. P. Chase." 

Will of Henbt Clay . 

Henry Clay died June 29, 1852. After the usual formal open- 
ing, his will has the following provision : 

"I give and devise to my wife during her life, the use and occu- 
pation of Ashland, with the exception of the piece thereof herein- 
after devised to my son John, and also during her life all my slaves 
except those heretofore or hereinafter otherwise disposed of with- 
out her being liable to any account for the profits thereof. I also 
give to her in fee all my furnitiu-e, plate, paintings, library, car- 
riages and Horses, and such of my other horses, mules, working 
beasts. Milch Cows and other live stock as she may select and choose 
to retain but upon this condition nevertheless, that either during 
her life, or by her last Will and Testament she dispose of the same 
among our children and our other descendants in such way as she 
may think proper according to her own sense of their kindness, 
affection and obedience to her. If she die without making such 
disposition the same is to be considered as part of my residuary 
estate. 

"Should my wife not desire to reside at Ashland after my death 
I will and direct that a house and lot be purchased, built, or rented 
for her wherever she may prefer to dwell." 

The next provision invests his executors with full power and 
authority to sell and convey any part of his estate wherever situ- 
ated, which is not in the will specifically devised or bequeathed. 
He next directs that in the event of the sale of his Ashland prop- 
erty, the proceeds shall be loaned out upon good and sufficient 
security, and that the interest accruing thereon be regularly paid 
to his wife during her life, and upon her death, the property in 
trust should pass into his residuary estate after the payment of 
the legacies mentioned in the will. 

Unto his son Thomas, he devises the place known as Mansfield, 



346 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

where the son resided, in trust, however, that it should be retained 
free from all debts or encumbrances as a residence for the son and 
his wife and children. 

There is given to the son, Thomas, the sum of five thousand 
dollars, and he was acquitted from any debts which he owed the 
testator. 

Unto his son John, he gives two hundred acres of the Ashland 
estate, to be taken off the south side thereof. He also gives to his 
son John, certain slaves, Harvey, Milton, Henry and Bob. There 
is also a gift to the son John, of certain horses, particularly "Mar- 
garet Woods and her Harold filly." 

The next reference is to his son Theodore, and he directs that 
"during his unhappy alienation of mind, he shall be decently and 
comfortably supported in whatever situation it may be deemed best 
to place him. If it should please God to restore him to reason, I 
will and direct that after the death of my wife, out of the proceeds 
of the sale of Ashland and other property herein directed to be sold 
the sum of ten thousand dollars be paid to him without interest." 

Unto the children "of my lamented Daughter Anne," he gives 
the sum of seven thousand five hundred dollars, to be equally di- 
vided between them to be paid without interest after the death of 
his wife. 

Unto the children of his son Henry, he gives the sum of seven 
thousand five hundred dollars, in addition to what had been given 
their father, to be equally divided between them. 

Certain general provisions of the will are as follows : 

"I give to my son Thomas my stock in the Lexington and Rich- 
mond Turnpike Road Company. 

"I give to my grandson Henry, son of Henry, my breast pin 
containing his Father's hair. 

"I give to my grandson Henry Boyle, son of my son Thomas, the 
gold watch which I wear presented to me by my friend Dr. Mercer. 

"I give to my friend Dr. B. W. Dudley the gold snuff box pre- 
sented to me by Dr. Huntt late of Washington City. 

"I give to my friend Dr. W. N. Mercer my snuff box inlaid with 
gold said to have belonged to Peter, the great Emperor of Russia. 

"I give to my friend Henry T. Duncan my ring containing a 
piece of the Coffin of General Washington. 

"I give to my granddaughter Lucy my diamond gold ring. 

"I give to each of my sons Thomas, James and John one of 
my walking canes to be chosen by them in the order in which I have 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 347 

named them ; my wife may distribute the residue of my walking 
canes and snuff boxes among such of our descendants or friends 
as she may think proper." 

The next item of interest in the will is with reference to the slaves 
owned by Mr. Clay, and as it reflects his views upon the subject 
of slavery, we quote it in full : 

"In the sale of any of my slaves I direct that the members of 
families shall not be separated without their consent. 

"My will is and I accordingly direct that the issue of all my 
female slaves, which may be born after the first day of January, 
1850 shall be free at the respective ages of the males at twenty 
eight and of the females at twenty five and that the three years 
next preceding their arrival at the age of freedom, they shall be 
entitled to their hire or wages for those years or the fair value of 
their services to defray the expense of transporting them to One 
of the African Colonies and of furnishing them with an outfit on 
their arrival there. And I further direct that they be taught to 
read, to write and to Cipher, and that they be sent to Africa. I 
further will and direct that the issue of any of the females who are 
so to be entitled to their freedom at the age of twenty five shall be 
deemed free from their birth, and that they be bound out as ap- 
prentices to learn farming or some useful trade upon the condition 
also of being taught to read, to write and to Cipher. And I direct 
also that the age of twenty one having been attained, they shall be 
sent to one of the African Colonies ; to raise the necessary funds 
for which purpose, if they shall not have previously earned them, 
they must be hired out a suflScient length of time. 

"I request and enjoin my Executors and descendants to pay 
particular attention to the execution of this provision of my will, 
and if they should sell any of the females who or whose issue are 
to be free I especially desire them to guard carefully the rights of 
such issue by all suitable stipulations and sanctions in the contract 
of sale. But I hope that it may not be necessary to sell any such 
persons who are to be entitled to their freedom but that they may 
be retained in the possession of some of my descendants." 

All the rest, residue and remainder of his estate, after the death 
of his wife, and which is not needed to pay the legacies mentioned, 
nor for debts, — and he states, "I hope to leave none," — he directs 
shall create a trust fund, a portion of the revenue from which shall 
be used for the comfortable support of his son Theodore; the 
remainder to be divided in equal portions between the sons Thomas 



348 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

and James during their lives, and to their respective heirs upon 
their deaths. He directs that the trust fund shall be invested in 
loans upon good security, so that the interest may be collected 
annually, and the sons Thomas and James are permitted to borrow 
the trust fund upon proper security. The sons Thomas and James 
are given the power to dispose of the trust fund by will, but in 
default of wills, the same shall pass to their heirs, under the Ken- 
tucky law. 

Within five years after the death of the testator, the Trustees 
are directed to place in the residuary estate the sum of ten thousand 
dollars, given to the son Theodore, if he fails to be restored to 
reason. 

A codicil to the will is in the following words : 

"I give to my grandson Harry Clay, son of James B. Clay my 
Scotch pebble seal which has on it the initials of my name." 

Will of Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) 

Samuel L. Clemens died April 21, 1910 ; his will is dated August 
17, 1909. He directs the payment of his just debts and obligations, 
and his funeral expenses. Article Second reads : 

"I give and bequeath to my daughter Clara Langdon Clemens, 
her heirs, executors, administrators and assigns absolutely, five 
per cent (5%) oi any and all moneys which at the time of my death, 
may be on deposit to my credit, and subject to withdrawal on 
demand in any bank or trust company, or in any banking institu- 
tion." 

Article Third is identical, except his daughter Jean Lampton 
Clemens is named. 

Article Fourth provides that all the rest, residue and remainder 
of the estate shall vest in three trustees for certain trust purposes. 
The Executors and Trustees named are Jervis Langdon, of Elmira, 
New York, Edward E. Loomis and Zoheth S. Freeman, both of 
New York City, and no bond is to be required of them as Executors 
or Trustees. 

The residuary estate is divided into two equal parts for the bene- 
fit of the daughters, they to receive respectively, one-half of the 
income as long as they Uve : each daughter is given the right to 
dispose of her part of the estate, but faiUng to do so, and leaving 
issue, then such issue to take the mother's share : but either dying 
without issue surviving, without leaving a last will, then that share 



ANCIENT, CUIMOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 349 

to be held by the trustees for the other daughter : and should either 
daughter become entitled to the whole estate by the death of the 
other, then the trustees, at her death, are to convey the whole trust 
estate to such persons as she may by will direct, but in the event 
the estate is not disposed of by will, then the trustees are to convey 
it to the next of kin of the surviving daughter. 

Each executor and trustee is given one vote in determining 
questions of administration, and full power is given them in the 
management, control and disposition of the estate. 

The last article of the will reads in part as follows : 

"As I have expressed to my daughter Clara Langdon Clemens, 
and to my Associate, Albert Bigelow Paine, my ideas and desires 
regarding the administration of my literary productions, and as 
they are especially familiar with my wishes in that respect, I 
request that my executors and trustees above named confer and 
advise with my said daughter Clara Langdon Clemens, and the 
said Albert Bigelow Paine, as to all matters relating in any way to 
the control, management and disposition of my literary produc- 
tions, published and unpublished, and all my literary articles and 
memoranda of every kind and description, and generally as to all 
matters which pertain to copyrights and such other literary prop- 
erty as I may leave at the time of my decease." 

The testator then states that the foregoing suggestion as to con- 
sultation is subject to a contract with Albert Bigelow Paine for the 
publication of his letters and in full recognition thereof, and also 
subject to a contract with Albert Bigelow Paine and Harper 
Brothers with reference to his biography. 

The testator's daughters are the sole beneficiaries under the will. 

Will of Gbovek Cleveland 

Ex-President Grover Cleveland died June 24, 1908. The fol- 
lowing is an abstract of the copy of his will, dated at Princeton, 
New Jersey, February 21, 1906, which is on file in the Office of 
the Register of Wills, Washington, D.C. 

He directs that after the payment of all debts and funeral ex- 
penses, an appropriate monument with brief inscription, and only 
moderately expensive, be erected at his grave and paid for out of 
his estate. "I desire to be buried wherever I may reside at the 
time of my death, and that my body shall always remain where it 
shall be at first buried — subject to its removal only if it shall be 



350 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

absolutely necessary in order that it shall repose by the side of 
my wife and in accordance with her desire." 

He gives to his niece Mary Hastings, daughter of his sister Anna 
Hastings, the sum of three thousand dollars to be paid to her as 
soon as practicable after his death ; and to each of the four daugh- 
ters of his nephew Richard Hastings, then or lately living with his 
sister Anna Hastings, the sum of two thousand dollars each. 

" Third. I give to my friend Richard Watson Gilder, the watch 
given to me in 1893 by the said Gilder and E. C. Benedict and J. J. 
Sinclair — and also the chain attached to the same when last worn 
by me." 

"Fifth. I give to Frank S. Hastings, my good friend and Execu- 
tor of this will, as the most personal memento I can leave to him, 
the seal ring I have worn for many years, which was given to me by 
my dear wife, and with whose hearty concurrence this gift is made." 

To his two daughters Esther and Marion, and his two sons, 
Richard F. and Francis G., he bequeaths the sum of two thousand 
dollars each, to be paid to them respectively as they each arrive 
at the age of twenty-one years, and until these legacies are paid, 
or shall lapse, they shall be kept invested, and the income derived 
therefrom shall be paid to his wife, and the aggregate of said in- 
come, shall be applied by her to the support, maintenance and 
education of the said children in such manner and in such propor- 
tions as she shall deem best, without any liability to any of said 
children on account thereof. If any of the said daughters, shall 
before her legacy becomes payable, cease for any reason to reside 
with her mother, then and from that time, the income arising from 
the investment of her legacy, shall be paid to said daughter. In 
case any of the said children shall die before his or her legacy 
shall be actually paid, leaving a child or children, then said legacy 
shall be paid to said child or children, but otherwise the said 
legacy shall lapse and become a part of the residuary estate dis- 
posed of by the instrument. 

All the rest and residue of his estate and property he gives to his 
dear wife Frances F. Cleveland and to her heirs and assigns for- 
ever ; and he appoints her guardian of all his children during their 
minority. 

"Eighth. I hereby appoint my wife Frances F. Cleveland Exe- 
cutrix, and Frank S. Hastings Executor of this my last will and 
testament." 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 351 

Will of Roscoe Conkling 

Roscoe Conkling died April 18, 1888. His will is as follows : 

"I, Roscoe Conkling of Utica, N.Y., do make, publish and de- 
clare my last Will and Testament as follows : 

"I give, devise and bequeath to my wife Julia, and to her heirs 
and assigns forever, all my property and estate whether real, per- 
sonal or mixed, and I constitute and appoint my said wife sole 
executrix of this my Will. 

"In Testimony whereof, I hereto sign my name this 21st of 
June, A.D. 1867. 

"Roscoe Conkling." 

Will of William W. Cokcoban 

William W. Corcoran died February 24, 1888. By his will, 
after numerous bequests and legacies to friends and relatives, he 
gives the sum of seventeen thousand dollars to charitable insti- 
tutions in the City of Washington, D.C., and adds, "All these sums 
to be held and invested by the institutions to which they are sever- 
ally given, and a sufficient part of the income therefrom used to 
furnish the inmates with the usual Christmas and strawberry 
festivals and feasts, commenced by my daughter about forty years 
ago, and continued by me to the present time." 

A cane given to the testator by the widow of General Robert 
E. Lee, he gives to his eldest grandson, William Corcoran Eustis, 
as well as his diamond shirt studs and his library. 

To his grandson, George Peabody Eustis, he gives his Palmetto 
cane, presented to him by the citizens of South Carolina in 1874. 

The celebrated Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, is re- 
membered in the following language : 

"In addition to the gifts heretofore made by me to 'The Trustees 
of the Corcoran Gallery of Art' in the City of Washington, and 
now being enjoyed by said Gallery, and which amount to about 
the sum of $1,500,000, I give and bequeath to 'The Trustees of 
the Corcoran Gallery of Art,' in the District of Columbia, the sum 
of One Hundred Thousand Dollars to be applied by said Trustees, 
for the purposes of said Gallery, according to a request which I 
shall make in writing to said Trustees." 

To the Trustees of the Louise Home of the City of Washington, 
D.C., he gives the sum of fifty thousand dollars, which he states 



352 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

is in addition to the sum of five hundred thousand dollars, al- 
ready given to said institution. 

To his grandson, William Corcoran Eustis, he gives "the old 
brick house on Bridge Street in Georgetown, D.C., built in the 
year 1791 by my father, and in which I was born," with the request 
that the same be not sold, but that the devisee pass it by will to 
his eldest son. 

The rest of his estate he directs shall, from time to time, be 
divided between his grandchildren. 

The will concludes with the following items : 

"I give and bequeath to my barber George Gray, the sum of 
One Hundred Dollars." 

"I hereby direct that all my horsehaired furniture shall be 
equally divided between my said grandchildren." 

Will of Jefferson Davis 

Jefferson Davis died at New Orleans, Louisiana, December 6, 
1889. His will is as follows : 

"I, Jefferson Davis, of the County of Harrison and State of 
Mississippi, being of sound and disposing mind, but of such advanced 
age, as to suggest a near approach of death, do make this my last 
Will and Testament, written with my own hand and signed in the 
presence of three competent witnesses. 

"1. I give and bequeath to my wife Varina Davis, all of my 
personal belongings, including library, furniture, correspondence 
and the Brierfield plantation (proper) with all its appurtenances, 
being and situated in the County of Warren, State of Mississippi, 
and being the same on which we lived and toiled together for many 
years from the time of our marriage. 

"2. I give and bequeath to Mary Routh Ellis of Philadelphia, 
Penn., all of my right, title and interest in and to the 'EUiston' 
plantation, being and situated in the Parish of Tensas, State of 
Louisiana, the same being the place on which her Father resided. 

"3. I give and bequeath to Mary Ridgely Dorsey, eldest daugh- 
ter of William H. G. Dorsey, of Howard County, State of Maryland, 
all of my right, title and interest in and to the 'Limerick' planta- 
tion, being and situated in the Parish of Tensas, State of Louisiana, 
viz. the interest in and to so much of said plantation as was the 
property of the late Mrs. Sarah A. Dorsey. 

"4. I give and bequeath to my daughter Varina Anne Davis, 



ANCIENT. CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 353 

all the other property, real, personal and mixed, which was in- 
herited by me from Mrs. Sarah A. Dorsey, deceased, and of which 
I may die seized and possessed. 

"5. To my wife, Varina Davis, and to my daughters Margaret 
Davis Hayes, and Varina Anne Davis, as residuary Legatees, I 
give and bequeath all the property real, personal and mixed of which 
I may die seized and possessed, and which has not been disposed 
of by the preceding articles. 

" 6. I appoint my tried and true friend Jacob U. Payne, of New 
Orleans, La. and my son in law, J. Addison Hayes, Jr., of Memphis, 
Tenn. Executors of this my last Will and Testament, they to serve 
without bond, and to have immediate seizure and possession of all 
my property cotemporaneously with the happening of my death, 
and to each I delegate the power to select and appoint his successor, 
to take eflFect in the contingency of the death of either, before the 
affairs of the estate have been finally settled. 

"In testimony whereof this Will written by my own hand is 
signed on the day and date below written, and in the presence of 
Frank Kennedy, R. W. Foster and A. Evans. 

"Jeffekson Davis. 

"Saturday 20th Feb. 1886." 

Will of Stephen A. Douglas 

Stephen A. Douglas died June 11, 1861. A copy of his will, 
together with a codicil thereto, is as follows : 

"Know all men by these presents that I, Stephen A. Douglas of 
the City of Chicago and State of Illinois, in view of the uncertainty 
of life and the certainty of death at such time as an all wise Provi- 
dence shall ordain, do hereby declare and subscribe the following 
as my will which I desire all persons to respect after my death, to 
wit : 

"It is also my will after my said debts shall be paid, all the resi- 
due of my property, personal and real shall be divided by my ex- 
ecutors into two equal parts, and that one part thereof shall belong 
to my two children, Robert M. Douglas and Stephen Douglas, 
and that the other part thereof, that is to say, one-half of all my 
property real and personal and of all moneys or debts due me shall 
belong to and is hereby declared to belong to my dear and beloved 
wife, Adele Cutts Douglas. 

"It is also my will and positive direction that my said wife shall 



354 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

be and she is hereby declared to be the sole guardian of my said 
children, and that she shall have the possession, control and educa- 
tion of them until they shall respectively arrive at the age of twenty- 
one years, knowing her to be the best person in the world to per- 
form this sacred trust. 

"It is also my will that my said wife, Adele Cutts Douglas and 
my friend and relative, Daniel P. Rhodes, of Cleveland, Ohio, be 
and they are hereby declared my executors to carry this will into 
effect, and to that end I do hereby waive all legal process and letters 
of administration and dispense with any and all security on the 
part of my said executors and direct that they may proceed and 
execute this will the same that I could do were I alive. 

"Having thus provided for all my worldly affairs, I commit my 
soul to God and ask the prayers of the good for His divine blessing. 

"In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal 
this 4th day of September a.d. 1857. 

"S. A. Douglas." 

CODICIL ADDED JULY 30, 1859 

"Be it known that I, Stephen A. Douglas, do hereby add the 
following supplement to the above as my last will and testament, 
to wit : that in event that my said wife shall have any child or 
children by me, whether born before or after my death, it is my will 
and direction that in the distribution of my estate an amount of 
property shall first be set apart and allotted to said child or chil- 
dren equal to the amount which my other children will receive 
from their mother's estate, and that the residue of my property 
after paying all just debts shall be divided into two equal parts 
and one of said parts shall belong to my said wife, to her sole use 
and benefit and the other to my said children, born or to be born 
as aforesaid, in equal proportions, it being my wish and intention 
that such children should inherit an equal amount of property 
with reference to the estate from which it shall be derived. 

"In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal at 
the City of Washington, this 30th day of July, a.d. 1859. 

" Stephen A. Douglas." 

Will of Mary Baker G. Eddy 

Mary Baker G. Eddy died December 3, 1910. Up to the age 
of fifty, her life had been a complete failure, filled with domestic 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 355 

misfortunes and discouraging experiences. She was an exception 
to the rule, that the leaders of great religious systems and reforms 
have been men. That late in Hfe she exerted an astonishing influ- 
ence, both in spiritual and material affairs, gained a prodigious 
success, and developed a wonderful personality, the world is will- 
ing to admit. Her recent death, and the popular interest in her 
life work and leadership in the Christian Science Church, justify 
the insertion of her will in full. This document is duly attested 
by four witnesses, the two codicils thereto each having three. 

" Be it known that I, Mary Baker G. Eddy, of Concord, New 
Hampshire, being of sound and disposing mind and memory, do 
make, publish and declare this to be my last will and testament in 
manner and form following, that is to say ; 

" 1. I hereby nominate and appoint Honorable Henry M. Baker, 
of Bow, New Hampshire, sole executor of this my last will and tes- 
tament ; and, having ample confidence in his ability and integrity, 
I desire that he shall not be required to furnish sureties on his 
official bond. 

" 2. Having already transferred and given to my son, George W. 
Glover, of Lead City, South Dakota, four certain mortgage deeds 
bought of the Farmers* Loan and Trust Company, of the State 
of Kansas, and having already given him a house and lot located 
in Lead City, South Dakota, and monies at various times, I hereby 
confirm and ratify said transfers and gifts, and, in addition thereto, 
I give and bequeath to my said son, George W. Glover, the sum of 
ten thousand dollars. 

" 3. I give and bequeath to George H. Moore, of Concord, New 
Hampshire, the sxun of one thousand dollars ; to each of the five 
children of my son, George W. Glover, the sum of ten thousand 
dollars ; to Mrs. Mary A. Baker, of Boston, Massachusetts, widow 
of my late brother, the sum of five thousand dollars ; to Frances 
A. Baker, of Concord, New Hampshire, the sum of one thousand 
dollars; to Henrietta E. Chanfrau, of Philadelphia, Penn., the 
sum of one thousand dollars ; to Fred N. Ladd, of Concord, New 
Hampshire, the sum of three thousand dollars ; to my adopted son, 
Benjamin J. Foster, M.D., the sum of five thousand dollars ; to 
Calvin A. Frye, of Concord, New Hampshire, the sum of ten thou- 
sand dollars, provided he continues in my service to the date of 
my decease ; to Pauline Mann, of Concord, New Hampshire, the 
sum of one thousand dollars, provided she continues in my service 
to the date of my decease ; to Joseph G. Mann, of Concord, New 



356 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Hampshire, three thousand dollars, provided he continues in my 
service to the date of my decease ; to Laura E. Sargent, of Concord, 
New Hampshire, three thousand dollars, provided she continues 
in my service to the date of my decease. 

" 4. I give and bequeath to the Mother Church — First Church of 
Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, the sum of fifty thou- 
sand dollars. 

" 5. I give and devise to Calvin A. Frye and Joseph G. Mann, 
above named, provided they shall respectively remain in my service 
to the date of my decease, the right, during the term of their 
respective natural lives, to occupy and use my homestead and 
grounds called 'Pleasant View,' in Concord, New Hampshire, as 
their residence and home, but the rights hereby conditionally 
granted to said Frye and Mann shall not be assignable to any other 
person. Said homestead and grounds connected therewith shall 
not be leased to, or occupied by, any persons, except as herein 
provided. No part of said homestead, or lands connected there- 
with, shall be devoted to any other uses or purposes than those of a 
home for said Frye and Mann during their respective lives (pro- 
vided they respectively remain in my service to the date of my 
decease) and a home for my grandchildren according to the terms 
of this will and, after the termination of the rights of said Frye and 
Mann and my grandchildren as herein provided, as a place for 
the reception, entertainment, and care of Christian Science visitors 
and their friends, and to such other purposes looking to the general 
advancement of the Christian Science religion as may be deemed 
best by the residuary legatee. All the personal property, except 
my jewelry, in and about said homestead and lands shall be kept 
and carefully used on said premises. 

"In my contract with Edward A. Kimball of Chicago, dated 
October 9, 1899, provision is made for the creation of a trust fund 
for the purpose of procuring an annual revenue or income which 
shall be used for maintaining in a perpetual state of repair my said 
homestead. A further provision is also made for that purpose in 
said contract. If, for any reason, suflScient funds for such purposes 
shall not be provided from the sources named in said contract, then 
I direct that my residuary legatee shall provide and expend such 
sums, from time to time, as may be necessary for the purpose of 
maintaining said homestead and grounds in a perpetual state of 
repair and cultivation. 

" I hereby give and devise to my grandson, George W. Glover, Jr., 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 357 

the right and privilege of living and having a home at Pleasant 
View and of being supported therein in a reasonable manner at the 
expense of my estate while he is obtaining his education preparatory 
to admission to Dartmouth College, provided he shall select and 
choose to obtain his education at that institution. I also direct my 
executor to pay all of said George W. Glover, Jr.'s, reasonable 
expenses while at said college, giving him, in the meantime, the 
privilege of a home at Pleasant View. 

" I also give and devise to my granddaughters the right and 
privilege of living and having a home at Pleasant View, and of 
being supported therein in a reasonable manner at the expense of 
my estate, while they, or either of them, are obtaining a high school 
education, provided they, or either of them, desire the advantages of 
such course. 

" 6. I give and bequeath to the Christian Science Board of Direc- 
tors of the Mother Church — The First Church of Christ, Scien- 
tist, in Boston, Massachusetts — and their successors in office, 
the sum of one hundred thousand dollars, but, nevertheless, in 
trust for the following purposes, namely ; said trustees shall hold, 
invest, and reinvest the principal of said fund and conservatively 
manage the same, and shall use the income and such portion of the 
principal, from time to t me, as they may deem best, for the purpose 
of providing free instruction for indigent, well-educated, worthy 
Christian Scientists at the Massachusetts Metaphysical College 
and to aid them thereafter until they can maintain themselves in 
some department of Christian Science. 

" I desire that the instruction for which provision is hereby made 
shall be at the said College, but my said trustees are hereby author- 
ized to provide said instruction elsewhere, if, in the unanimous 
judgment of all said trustees for the time being, such course shall 
seem best. The judgment and discretion of said trustees with 
reference to the persons to be aided as herein provided and the 
amount of aid furnished to each of said persons shall be final and 
conclusive. 

" 7. I hereby ratify and confirm the following trust agreements 
and declarations, viz. 

" (1) The deed of trust dated September 1, 1892, conveying land 
for church edifice in Boston and on which the building of the First 
Church of Christ, Scientist, now stands. 

" (2) The trust agreement dated January 25, 1898, conveying to 
Edward P. Bates, James A. Neal, and William P. McKenzie, and 
their successors, the property conveyed to me by the Christian 



S58 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Science Publishing Society, by bill of sale dated January 21, 1898, 
the said trust being created for the purpose of more effectually 
promoting and extending the religion of Christian Science as 
taught by me. 

" (3) The trust agreement dated February 12, 1898, specifying 
the objects, purposes, terms, and conditions on which the First 
Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, shall hold 
the real estate situated at #385 Commonwealth Avenue, in Boston, 
Massachusetts, which was conveyed by me to said church on said 
February 12, 1898. 

"(4) The trust agreement dated January 31, 1898, whereby 
certain real estate was conveyed to George H. Moore, Calvin A. 
Frye, and Ezra M. Buswell, and their successors, and, in addition 
thereto, the sum of one hundred thousand dollars, for the purpose 
of a Christian Science church to be erected on said real estate. 

" (5) The trust agreement dated May 20, 1898, under which the 
sum of four thousand dollars was transferred to The First Church 
of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, for the benefit of the children con- 
tributors of the Mother's room in said church. 

" (6) The deed of trust dated December 21, 1895, transferring 
five hundred dollars to the trustees of Park Cemetery Association 
of Tilton, New Hampshire. 

"8.1 give, bequeath and devise all the rest, residue and remainder 
of my estate, of every kind and description, to the Mother Church 
— The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, 
in trust for the following general purposes ; I desire that such por- 
tion of the income of my residuary estate as may be necessary shall 
be used for the purpose of keeping in repair the church building and 
my former house at #385 Commonwealth Avenue in said Boston, 
which has been transferred to said Mother Church, and any build- 
ing or buildings which may be, by necessity or convenience, sub- 
stituted therefor ; and, so far as may be necessary, to maintain my 
said homestead and grounds ('Pleasant View' in Concord, New 
Hampshire) in a perpetual state of repair and cultivation for the 
uses and purposes heretofore in this will expressed; and I desire 
that the balance of said income, and such portion of the principal 
as may be deemed wise, shall be devoted and used by said residuary 
legatee for the purpose of more effectually promoting and extending 
the religion of Christian Science as taught by me. 

" Witness my hand and seal this thirteenth day of September, 
A.D. 1901. "Makt B. G. Eddy." 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 359 

" Be it known that I, Mary Baker G. Eddy, of Concord, New 
Hampshire, do hereby make, publish and declare a codicil to my last 
will and testament, originally dated September 13, 1901, a dupli- 
cate of said will having been this day reexecuted by me upon the 
discovery of the loss of the original, dated September 13, 1901, 
as aforesaid, in manner following, namely ; 

"1. I hereby revoke the bequest, in paragraph numbered 5 of my 
said will, to Joseph G. Mann, of the right to occupy with Calvin 
A. Prye my homestead premises known as 'Pleasant View,' 
during the lifetime of the said Mann, and I hereby bequeath unto 
Irving C. Tomlinson, of Concord, New Hampshire, and to his 
sister Mary E. Tomlinson the right during the term of their respec- 
tive lives to occupy and use as a home said premises known as 
'Pleasant View,' said occupancy and use by them to be personal 
to them and not assignable to any other person by them or either 
of them and shall be exercised with due regard to the rights of other 
persons named in said will, excepting said Mann, to occupy and 
enjoy said premises. 

"2. I give and bequeath to Laura E. Sargent the sum of five 
thousand dollars ($5000), this legacy to be in lieu of the legacy 
provided for her in paragraph numbered 3 of my said will, and to be 
unconditional. 

" 3. I give, devise and bequeath to the Second Church of Christ, 
Scientist, in New York City, a sum not exceeding one hundred 
and seventy-five thousand dollars ($175,000) sufficient to pay 
the indebtedness which may exist at the time of my decease upon 
the chiu-ch edifice of said Second Church of Christ, Scientist, and 
direct that said sum of one hundred and seventy-five thousand 
dollars ($175,000), or so much thereof as may be necessary for the 
purpose, shall be applied as soon as may be after my decease to or 
towards the extinguishment of said indebtedness; if the amount 
required for this purpose shall not be as much as one hundred and 
seventy-five thousand dollars ($175,000), then this legacy shall 
be limited to the amount actually required. 

"4. I give and bequeath to Mrs. Pamelia J. Leonard, of 
Brooklyn, New York, the sum of three thousand dollars ($3000) ; 
to Mrs. Augusta E. Stetson, of New York City, my "crown of 
diamonds" breastpin ; to Mrs. Laura Lathrop, of New York City, 
my diamond cross ; to Mrs. Rose Kent, of Jamestown, New York, 
my gold watch and chain ; and to Henry M. Baker, of Bow, New 
Hampshire, my portrait set in diamonds. 



360 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

"5. Mrs. Mary A. Baker, to whom I have bequeathed five 
thousand dollars (5000), by my will, having deceased since the 
original execution of said will on September, 13, 1901, I hereby 
revoke the legacy therein provided for her. 

" 6. The bequest in my will to Calvin A. Frye is hereby increased 
to twenty thousand dollars, but subject to the same condition as 
therein provided. 

" I hereby ratify and reaflBrm my will as originally executed on 
September 13, 1901, and as again executed this day, in all respects 
except as herein modified. 

" In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal at 
Concord, New Hampshire, this seventh day of November, a.d. 
1903. 

"Makt Baker G. Eddy." 

" Be it known that I, Mary Baker G. Eddy, of Concord, New 
Hampshire, do hereby make, publish, and declare this second 
codicil to my last will and testament originally dated September 13, 
1901, a duplicate of said will having been reexecuted by me on 
November 7, 1903, in manner following, namely ; 

" 1. I hereby direct and require that the executor of my will shall 
sell, within three months after his appointment, at public auction 
or, if he sees fit, at private sale, for such price as he may determine 
upon and to such purchaser as he may see fit, my real estate in said 
Concord known as 'Pleasant View,' consisting of my homestead 
and the grounds occupied in connection therewith, and I hereby 
direct that the proceeds of such sale shall be forthwith paid over 
to the Directors of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, 
Massachusetts, to be used for such purposes in connection with 
said Church as said Directors may determine. Nothing contained 
in my will or codicils thereto shall be considered inconsistent with 
said Church purchasing said real estate, if the Directors may con- 
sider it desirable so to do. 

" I hereby revoke the provisions of my will and first codicil pro- 
viding for the occupancy of said real estate by various persons, 
the preservation and maintenance thereof at the expense of my 
estate, and all other provisions of my will and codicil inconsistent 
with the foregoing direction to my executor to sell said real estate. 

"2. I hereby give and bequeath to The First Church of Christ, 
Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, all the contents of my said 
homestead and of the other buildings at 'Pleasant View,' — except 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 361 

so far as aay of the same may be specifically bequeathed in my 
will and codicils thereto, which specific bequests I do not modify 
by this provision, — the same to be kept or disposed of as may be 
determined by the Directors of said Church; but I direct that 
Calvin A. Frye shall have the privilege of selecting from said 
articles such keepsakes or mementos, not exceeding in intrinsic 
value the sum of five himdred dollars, as he may desire, and I give 
and bequeath the same to him when so selected. 

" 3. I hereby direct that said Calvin A. Frye shall be provided 
with a suitable home in my house at No. 385 Commonwealth 
Avenue, Boston, if he so desires, he to have the exclusive occupancy 
of two furnished rooms therein, to be designated by my executor, 
and to have his board, suitable heat, light, and all other things 
necessary for his comfortable occupancy of said premises during 
his natural life, the expense thereof to be provided out of the in- 
come from the residue of my estate which I have left to said The 
First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts. 

"4. I give and bequeath to Lydia B. Hall, of Brockton, Massa- 
chusetts, the sum of one thousand dollars. 

"5. I give and bequeath to Irving C. Tomlinson, of said Concord, 
the note which I hold signed by him, it being my intention hereby 
to release him from said indebtedness. 

" In all other respects except as herein specified, I hereby ratify 
and reaffirm my will and codicil above mentioned. 

"In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal at 
Concord, New Hampshire, this fourteenth day of May, a.d. 1904. 

"Maby Bakeb G. Eddy." 

Burial of Mks. Maby Bakeb G. Eddy 

On January 26, 1911, at Boston, in a concrete grave on the 
shores of Lake Halcyon, in Mount Auburn Cemetery, was deposited 
a bronze coffin containing the body of Mrs. Mary Baker G. Eddy, 
the founder of Christian Science. 

On the coffin rested a bronze box inclosing a complete set of the 
works of Mrs. Eddy, together with all recent Christian Science 
publications, while the silver plate beneath gave her name and the 
dates of her birth and death. 

The ceremony was attended by the directors of the church and a 
score of its strongest supports. Judge Clifford P. Smith, the first 
reader of the First Church, read the ninety-first Psalm and the last 
two verses in Jude which were read at the funeral December 8, 1910. 



362 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Then the grave was sealed. Later, the spot will be marked by a 
mausoleum. 

Since the funeral service of Mrs. Eddy the bronze coffin had re- 
posed in the receiving tomb at Mount Auburn, with a guard beside 
it day and night. 

That guard was relieved shortly after noon Jan. 26, when half a 
dozen carriages rolled up to the door of the tomb, and an hour 
later the coffin was drawn out and placed on the bier. 

The bronze plate covering the features of Mrs. Eddy was pushed 
back, and one by one the little party gazed for the last time on her 
face. It had changed but little in the seven weeks. 

In the construction of the grave the skill of engineers was in- 
voked to make it impervious to desecration, or even to decay. 
The coffin rests on four feet of concrete and is incased in steel 
uprights. 

Upon it rests the copper box with the Christian Science litera- 
ture, and above are alternate layers of concrete and steel network 
to the level of the turf. 

Will of Ralph Waldo Emebson 

Ralph Waldo Emerson died at Concord, Massachusetts, April 
27, 1882. His will is as follows : 

"I, Ralph Waldo Emerson, of Concord, in the County of Middle- 
sex and Commonwealth of Massachusetts, make this as my last will 
and testament, hereby revoking all other wills by me at any time 
made. 

"First. (1) I give all my real estate, wherever situated, except- 
ing only my house and homestead estate in Concord, equally to my 
three children Edward Waldo Emerson, Ellen Tucker Emerson 
and Edith Emerson Forbes, wife of William Hathaway Forbes of 
Milton, and their heirs. But the pasture land and wood land in 
Concord is given, subject to certain rights reserved for the benefit 
of my wife and my daughter Ellen, as hereinafter named. 

"(2) I give my library to my three children equally. All my 
manuscripts and unpublished writings I give to my three children 
and the survivors and survivor of them in joint tenancy. 

" (3) The copyright and plates and ownership of all my pubUshed 
writings I give to my son Edward ; and I also assign to him for his 
own benefit all my contracts for the publication of said writings. 

" (4) I give to my daughter Edith the book of selections known 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 363 

in my family as the 'Black Anthology; ' and to the five children 
of my daughter Edith I give as follows : — to Ralph my watch, to 
Edith my bronze image of Goethe, to Cameron the cane cut at the 
Grotto of Egeria and given to me by my valued friend, Judge 
Hoar, to John my cane of teak wood, and to Edward my small brass 
candle-sticks and Roman lamp. 

" (5) To the oldest child of my son Edward I give my sole leather 
trunk. 

"(6) I give to my son Edward the sum of thirteen himdred 
dollars ($1300) and to my daughter Ellen the sum of twenty-three 
hundred dollars ($2300). In naming these sums and in not here 
giving any sum to my daughter Edith I am influenced by the fact 
that I have heretofore made certain advancements to Edith and to 
Edward at the time when they were married. 

"Second. — As to all the residue and remainder of my property 
of every kind whatever, I give it as follows : 

" (1) In case my wife should survive me (a) I give to my daugh- 
ter Ellen the sum of three thousand dollars ($3000) ; and while I do 
not in this place give a like sum to Edward and my daughter 
Edith, because the immediate enjoyment of the property is likely 
to be of less importance to them, I nevertheless direct that in the 
final division of my property the share of Ellen shall contribute to 
each of the shares of Edward and Edith the sum of one thousand 
dollars as of the date of the payment of this legacy to Ellen ; and 
(6) all the rest of said residue I give to my son Edward to hold it 
during his mother's hfetime in trust for her benefit, to keep the 
income-bearing part of the property well invested, to pay all taxes 
and to make all necessary or proper repairs, and to pay over the net 
income and proceeds of the property, quarterly or oftener as may 
be convenient to my wife, during her hfe. As to the house and 
homestead estate in Concord and all the furniture, plate, pictures 
and other articles of household use or ornament therein, except 
what is herein otherwise disposed of, the trustee is to take care that 
my wife has the full use and enjoyment thereof during her life, and 
he shall also provide wood for her use at the house from the Con- 
cord woodlots and pasturage on the Concord farm for the cows. 

" (2) In case my wife should not survive me, and also in the event 
of her death, if she should survive me, I give all the said residue of 
my property not otherwise disposed of, as aforesaid, equally to my 
three children and their heirs, executors and administrators. But I 
qualify this division in two particulars : first, the share of my daugh- 



364 ANCIENT. CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

ter Ellen shall contribute to the shares of Edward and Edith in case 
of the payment of said legacy of three thousand dollars ($3000) ; 
and second, in addition to her one-third of the said residue of my 
property, I direct that my daughter Ellen shall have the right, 
during her lifetime and free from all charge or payment therefor, to 
occupy my said house and homestead estate and to have, from 
my other land in Concord, wood for her use at the house and 
pasturage for her cows ; and also that if she should prefer not 
to occupy said house she shall have the right to take for her use 
elsewhere and as her own property, such part as she may select of 
the furniture, plate, pictures and other articles of household use or 
ornament in my house, not herein otherwise disposed of. 

"Third. — I appoint my friend James Elliot Cabot to be my Ut- 
erary executor, giving him authority, acting in cooperation with my 
children or the survivors or survivor of them, to pubhsh or to with- 
hold from publication any of my unpublished papers. 

"Fourth. — I appoint my son Edward Waldo Emerson and my 
son-in-law William A. Forbes to be the executors of my will ; and 
in case of the death of either of them, whether before or after my 
death, I appoint my daughter Ellen to be executrix in his place. 

"Fifth. — I request that neither of my executors or my trustee, 
herein named, shall be required to give surety on his official bond. 

"In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 
fourteenth day of April in the year eighteen hundred and seventy- 
six. 

"R. Waldo Emehson." 

Will of Edwin Forrest 

Edwin Forrest died December 12, 1872, at his home in Phila- 
delphia. He was regarded one of the ablest representatives of 
Shakespearian characters of the age in which he lived nd died ; he 
accumulated a large fortune. It will be recalled that his unfortu- 
nate quarrel with Macready resulted in 1849 in a riot in New York, 
which was accompanied by a serious loss of life. His will is dated 
April 5, 1866; there are two codicils, but they are of no very 
great importance. After making numerous bequests to friends 
and servants, the bulk of his large estate was directed to be placed 
in the hands of trustees, under an elaborate scheme "for the sup- 
port and maintenance of actors and actresses decayed by age or 
disabled by infirmity." The institution was to be known as "The 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 365 

Edwin Forrest Home." His will is a most interesting and miique 
dociunent, and for this reason the whole of that portion which 
created "The Edwin Forrest Home" is here exactly copied from 
the original. 

"The following is an outline of my plan for said Home, which 
may be filled out in more detail by the charter and by-laws : 

"article I 

"The said Institution shall be for the support and maintenance of 
actors and actresses decayed by age or disabled by infirmity, who, 
if natives of the United States, shall have served at least five years 
in the theatrical profession, and if of foreign birth shall have served 
in that profession at least ten years, whereof three years next pre- 
vious to the app ication shall have been in the United States, and 
who shall in all things comply with the laws and regulations of 
the Home, otherwise be subject to be discharged by the Managers, 
whose decision shall be final. 

"article n 

"The number of inmates in the Home shall never exceed the 
annual net rent and revenue of the Institution, and after the num- 
ber of inmates therein shall exceed twelve, others to be admitted 
shall be such only as shall receive the approval of the majority of 
the inmates, as well as of the Managers. 

"article m 

"The said Corporation shall be managed by a Board of Managers, 
seven in number, who shall in the first instance be chosen by the 
said Trustees and hall include themselves, so long as any of them 
shall be living, and also the Mayor of the City of Philadephia for 
the time being, and as vacancies shall occur the existing Managers 
shall from time to time fill them, so that, if practicable, only one 
vacancy shall ever exist at a time. 

"article IV 

"The Managers shall elect one of their number to be the Presi- 
dent of the Institution, appoint a Treasvu-er and Secretary, Steward 
and Matron, and, if needed, a Clerk ; the said Treasurer, Secretary, 
Steward, Matron and Clerk subject to be at any time discharged 
by the Managers. Except the Treasurer, the said officers may be 
chosen from the inmates of the Home, and the Treasurer shall not 



366 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

be a Manager, nor either of his sureties. The Managers shall also 
appoint a physician for the Home. 

"article V 

"Should there be any failure of the Managers to fill any vacancy 
which may occiu' in their Board for three months, or should they 
in any respect fail to fulfill their trust according to the intent of my 
will and the charter of the Institution, it is my will that upon the 
petition of any two or more of said Managers, or of the Mayor of the 
City, the Orphans' Comi; of Philadelphia County shall make such 
appointments to fill any vacancy or vacancies and all orders and 
decrees necessary to correct any failure or breach of trust which 
shall appear to said Court to be required, as in case of any other 
testamentary trust, so that the purposes of this charity may never 
fail or be abused. 

"article VI 

" The purposes of the said ' Edwin Forrest Home ' are intended to 
be partly educational and self-sustaining, as well as eleemosynary, 
and never to encourage idleness or thriftlessness in any who are 
capable of any useful exertion. My library shall be placed therein 
in precise manner as now it exists in my house in Broad street, Phil- 
adelphia. There shall be a neat and pleasant theatre for private 
exhibitions and histrionic culture. There shall be a picture gallery 
for the preservation and exhibition of my collection of engravings, 
pictures, statuary and other works of art, to which additions may 
be made from time to time, if the revenues of the Institution shall 
suffice. These objects are not only intended to improve the taste, 
but to promote the health and happiness of the inmates and such 
visitors as may be admitted. 

"article VII 

"Also, as a means of preserving health and, consequently, the 
happiness of the inmates, as well as to aid in sustaining the Home, 
there shall be lectures and readings therein upon oratory and his- 
trionic art, to which pupils shall be admitted, upon such terms and 
under such regulations as the Managers may prescribe. The gar- 
den and groimds are to be made productive of profit, as well as of 
health and pleasure, and, so far as capable, the inmates, not other- 
wise profitably occupied, shall assist in farming, horticulture and 
the cultivation of flowers in the garden and conservatory. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS. AND FAMOUS WILLS 367 

"article viii 

The Edwin Forrest Home ' may also, if the revenue shall 
suffice, embrace in its plan lectures on science, literature and the 
arts, but preferably oratory and the histrionic art, in manner to 
prepare the American citizen for the more creditable and effective 
discharge of his pubHc duties, and to raise the education and intel- 
lectual and moral tone and character of actors, that thereby they 
may elevate the drama and cause it to subserve its true and great 
mission to mankind, as their profoundest teacher of virtue and 
morality. 

"abticle rx 

The Edwin Forrest Home ' shall also be made to promote the 
love of hberty, our country and her institutions, to hold in honor the 
name of the great dramatic Bard, as well as to cultivate a taste and 
afford opportunity for the enjoyment of social rural pleasures. 
Therefore, there shall be read therein to the inmates and public, by 
an inmate or pupil thereof, the immortal Declaration of Independ- 
ence, as written by Thomas Jefferson, without expurgation, on 
every Fourth Day of July, to be followed by an oration under the 
folds of our national flag. There shall be prepared and read therein 
before the like assemblage, on the birthday of Shakespeare, the 
twenty-third of April, in every year, an eulogy upon his character 
and writings, and one of his plays, or scenes from his plays, shall on 
that day be represented in the theatre. And on the first Mondays 
of every June and October 'The Edwin Forrest Home,' and 
grounds shall be opened for the admission of ladies and gentlemen 
of the theatrical profession and their friends, in the manner of social 
picnics, when all provide their own entertaiiunents. 

"The foregoing general outline of my plan of the Institution I 
desire to establish has been sketched during my preparations for 
a long voyage by sea and land, and, should God spare my life, it is 
my purpose to be more full and definite ; but should I leave no later 
will or codicil, my friends who sympathize in my purposes will exe- 
cute them in the best and fullest manner possible, understanding 
that they have been long meditated by me, and are very dear to my 
heart. They will also remember that my professional brothers and 
sisters are often unfortunate, and that httle has been done for them, 
either to elevate them in their profession or to provide for their 
necessities under sickness or other misfortunes. God has favored 
my efforts and given me great success, and I would make my for- 
tune the means to elevate the education of others and promote their 



368 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

success, and to alleviate their sufferings and smooth the pillows of 
the unfortuate, in sickness or other disability, or the decay of de- 
cUning years. 

"These are the grounds upon which I would appeal to the Legis- 
lature of my native State, to the Chief Magistrate of my native city, 
to the Courts and my fellow-citizens, to assist my purposes, which 
I believe to be demanded by the just claims of humanity, and by 
that civilization and refinement which springs from intellectual and 
moral culture. 

"I, therefore, lay it as a duty upon my Trustees to frame a bill 
which the Legislature may enact, as and for the charter of said 
Institution, which shall ratify the articles in said outline of plan; 
shall authorize the Mayor of the city to act as one of its Managers, 
and the said Court to exercise the visitatorial jurisdiction invoked, 
and prevent streets from being run through so much of the Spring- 
brook grounds, as shall include the buildings and sixty acres of 
ground. Such a charter being obtained, the Corporation shall be 
authorized, at a future period, to sell the grounds outside said space, 
the proceeds to be appKed to increase the endowment and usefulness 
of the Home. And so far as I shall not have built to carry out my 
views, I authorize the said Managers, with consent of my sisters, or 
survivor of them, having a right to reside at Springbrook, to proceed 
to erect and build the buildings required by my outKne of plan, and 
towards their erection apply the income accumulated or current 
of my estate, and should my sisters consent, or the survivor of them 
consent, in case of readiness to open the Home, to remove there- 
from, a comfortable house shall be procured for them elsewhere, 
furnished and rent and taxes paid, as required in respect to Spring- 
brook, at the cost and charge of my estate or of the said Corpora- 
tion, if then in possession thereof. Whensoever the requisite 
charter shall be obtained and the Corporation be organized and 
ready to proceed to carry out its design, then it shall be the duty 
of said Trustees to assign and convey all my said property and es- 
tate unto the said 'Edwin Forrest Home,' their successors and 
assigns forever, and for the latter to execute and deUver, under the 
corporate seal, a full and absolute discharge and acquittance for- 
ever, — with or without auditing of accounts by an auditor of the 
Court, as they may think proper, — unto the said Executors and 
Trustees. 

"In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal 
this fifth day of April, eighteen hundred and sixty-six. 

"Edwin Foerest." 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 369 

The State of Pennsylvania heartily coSperated with the Trus- 
tees, but they found themselves powerless to realize fully the hopes 
and wishes of the testator. It was necessary to make a settlement 
with the divorced wife of the testator, whose legal claims had been 
entirely overlooked by him. This and other legal complications 
hampered the Trustees, and the amounts of money necessarily ex- 
pended seriously crippled the estate. The Home, however, was 
established upon his beautiful property known as "Springbrook," 
where it yet exists under excellent management, and its doors are 
still open to those who are entitled to enter under the conditions 
fixed by the testator. 

Will of Benjamin Franklin 

In the "Life of Benjamin Franklin," by Jared Sparks, is to be 
found Frankhn's will, a document of great length and unusual 
mterest. Franklin died in 1790 : the will is dated July 17, 1788 ; 
a codicil of almost equal length is dated June 23, 1789. The 
will in part reads: 

'*I, Benjamin Franklin, of Philadelphia, printer, late Minister 
Plenipotentiary from the United States of America to the Court 
of France, now President of the State of Pennsylvania, do make 
and declare my last will and testament as foUows : 

"To my son, William Franklin, late Governor of the Jerseys, I 
give and devise all the lands I hold or have a right to in the Prov- 
ince of Nova Scotia, to hold to him, his heirs and assigns forever. 
I also give to him all my books and papers which he has in his 
possession, and all debts standing against him on my account 
books, willing that no payment for, nor restitution of the same be 
required of him by my Executors. The part he acted against me 
in the late war, which is of pubUc notoriety, will account for my 
leaving him no more of an estate he endeavored to deprive me of. 

"I give and devise my dwelling house, my said three new 
houses, my printing oflSce and also my silver plate, pictures and 
household goods of every kind, now in my said dwelling house, to 
my daughter, Sarah Bache, and to her husband, Richard Bache, 
to hold to them for and during their natural Uves, and the life of 
the longest liver of them : and from and after the death of the 
survivor of them, I do give, devise and bequeath the same to all 
children already bom or to be born of my said daughter, and to 
their heirs and assigns forever, as tenants in common and not as 
joint tenants. 



370 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

"All lands near the Ohio and the lots near the centre of Phila- 
delphia, which I lately purchased from the State, I give to my son- 
in-law, Richard Bache, his heirs and assigns forever : I also give 
him the bond I have against him of 2072 pounds 5 shillings and 
direct the same to be delivered up to him by my Executors can- 
celled, requesting that in consideration thereof, he would im- 
mediately after my decease manumit and set free his negro man. 
Bob: I leave to him also the money due me from the State of 
Virginia for types : I also discharge him, my son-in-law, from all 
claims of rent and moneys due to me, on book account or otherwise. 
I also give him all my musical instruments. 

"The King of France's picture, set with four hundred and eight 
diamonds, I give to my daughter, Sarah Bache, requesting, how- 
ever, that she would not form any of those diamonds into orna- 
ments, either for herself or daughters, and thereby introduce or 
countenance the expensive, vain and useless pastime of wearing 
jewels in this country. 

"The philosophical instruments I have in Philadelphia, I give 
to my ingenious friend, Francis Hopkinson. 

"I was born in Boston, New England, and owe my first instruc- 
tions in literature to the free grammar schools established there : 
I therefore give 100 pounds sterKng to my Executors to be by them 
paid over to the managers or directors of the free schools in my 
native town of Boston." 

The fund has been successfully applied and is or was formerly 
employed in purchasing medals for distribution in the schools of 
Boston. 

There is a gift to the State of Pennsylvania of 2000 pounds to 
be employed in making the Schuylkill River navigable. 

He concludes with this clause : "I would have my body buried 
with as Uttle expense or ceremony as may be." 

In the codicil to the wUl are found these expressions and 
gifts: 

" It has been my opinion, that he who receives an estate from 
his ancestors is under some kind of obligation to transmit the same 
to their posterity : this obligation does not He on me, who never 
inherited a shilling from any ancestor or relation." 

One thousand poimds was given to Boston and another thousand 
to Philadelphia, to be held by trustees, which sums he directed 
should be " let out on interest at 5 per cent per annum to young 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 371 

married artificers under the age of twenty-five years." These 

cities accepted the sums, and they have been wisely used. 

"I wish to be buried by the side of my wife, if it may be, and 

that a marble stone be made by Chambers, six feet long, four feet 

wide, plain, with only a small moulding around the upper edge, 

with this inscription, 

Benjamin] t, 

T^ f Franklin 

Deborah J 

to be placed over us both." 

This request was carried out. 

"My fine crab tree walking-stick, with gold head curiously 
wrought in the form of the cap of liberty, I give to my friend, and 
the friend of mankind. General Washington. If it were a sceptre, 
he has merited it and would become it. It was a present to me 
from that excellent woman, Madame de Forbach, the Dowager 
Duchess of Deux Fonts, connected with some verses, which should 
go with it." 

"I give my gold watch to my son-in-law, Richard Bache, and also 
the gold watch-chain of the thirteen United States, which I have 
not yet worn. My time-piece that stands in my library, I give 
to my grandson, William Temple Frarildin. I give him also my 
Chinese gong. To my dear old friend, Mrs. Mary Hemson, I give 
one of my silver tankards marked, for her use during her hfe, and 
after her decease, I give it to her daughter, Eliza. I give to her 
son, Wilham Hemson, who is my godson, my new quarto Bible, 
Oxford edition, to be for his family Bible, and also the botanic 
description of the plants in the Emperor's garden at Vienna, in 
folio, with colored cuts. And to her son, Thomas Hemson, I give 
a set of Spectators, Tatlers, and Guardians, handsomely bound. 

"I give twenty guineas to my good friend and physician. Dr. 
John Jones. 

"I request my friend, Mr. Duffield, to accept my French Way- 
weiser, a piece of clockwork in brass, to be fixed on the wheel of 
any carriage. 

"My picture drawn by Martin in 1767, I give to the Supreme 
Executive Council of Pennsylvania, if they shall be pleased to do 
me the honor of accepting it and placing it in their chamber. 

"I give to my Executors, to be divided equally among those that 
act, the sum of sixty pounds sterKng as some compensation for 
their trouble in the execution of my will." 



372 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Will of Melville W. Fuller 

The late Chief Justice Melville W. Fuller of the United States 
Supreme Court died at his summer home near Bar Harbor, Maine, 
July 4, 1910. By his last will and testament, he disposed of 
an estate of nearly one million dollars. The estate is to be held 
in trust for the daughters and the son of the Chief Justice, and 
their heirs. Nothing was left to charity or to parties other than 
the direct descendants of the testator. The will was signed at 
Washington, February 23, 1910. In substance it is as follows : 

"I devise to the Merchants' Loan and Trust Company and my 
old friend Stephen S. Gregory, or their survivors, or such suc- 
cessors as may be appointed for them, in case of both of them be- 
coming unable to act, all of my property, real, personal and mixed, 
to be held in trust until the decease of the last survivor of my 
children, to pay and discharge my just debts and obUgations, and 
to collect and to pay over the net revenue of the property in such 
reasonable allowances as shall from time to time be determined 
by them in view of the existing circumstances; but each of the 
children, or their children, in case of my death, shall receive finally 
an equal share. 

"I empower my said trustees to sell any of the property, if and 
as deemed by them or their survivors or successors advisable, and 
to reinvest and hold the proceeds upon the same trust, to make 
and to renew loans and secure the same by trust deed or mort- 
gages ; to lease and to build or rebuild. In short, I impart to my 
said trustees the same powers I myself possess, subject to eflFectuat- 
ing the foregoing trust." 

Will of Stephen Gibabd 

Stephen Girard was born in Bordeaux, France, the son of a sea 
captain. He died December 26, 1831. His immense wealth 
was accumulated in Philadelph a, where he spent the greater part 
of his life. 

It was during the financial panic of 1810, that Girard loaned the 
government of the United States five million dollars, when it 
could not be had elsewhere ; this, it is said, exhausted his entire 
fortune. 

Girard was also something of a farmer, and Girard College is 
located on what was formerly his farm; it was there that he 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 373 

labored with his trees and his flowers. History says that a large, 
shaggy dog followed him in his travels, and that each of his ships 
which went to sea, carried one. 

By his will, he left large sums for the betterment of humanity ; 
it is stated that up to that time, it was the largest amount ever 
given away by an individual philanthropist in the history of this 
country, if not of the world. While his gifts to charitable and other 
institutions in the City of Philadelphia and the State of Pennsyl- 
vania were numerous and large, he is best known by a bequest 
of two miUion dollars for the founding of Girard College ; besides 
this sum, there was a residue of a large amount which also went 
to this college. This endowment fund now amounts to sixteen 
miUion dollars, and the income is over one miUion dollars a year. 

That famous section of this famous will, with reference to clergy- 
men, w^ch has produced so much discussion, is set out in full 
below. The injunction with reference to ministers and ecclesi- 
astics holding office or entering the premises is still at least out- 
wardly respected. 

The heirs of Girard attempted to break his will ; their argument 
was partly based on the provision with reference to rehgion : the 
Supreme Court of the United States upheld the will, notwith- 
standing the contestants had the assistance of Daniel -Webster. 

Girard College has an attendance of over two thousand boys: 
the scope and plan of the Institution has been greatly enlarged, 
and it has met with marked success in its abiUty to place many of 
its students in permanent and often valuable commercial positions. 

The section in question is as follows : 

" Article XXI. Section 9. Those scholars, who shall merit 
it, shall remain in the College until they shall respectively arrive 
at between fourteen and eighteen years of age; they shall then 
be boimd out by the Mayor, Aldermen and Citizens of Philadelphia, 
or under their direction, to suitable occupations, as those of agri- 
culture, navigation, arts, mechanical trades, and manufactures, 
according to the capacities and acquirements of the scholars re- 
spectively, consulting, as far as prudence shall justify it, the in- 
clinations of the several scholars, as to the occupation, art or trade» 
to be learned. 

"In relation to the organization of the College and its append- 
ages, I leave, necessarily, many details to the Mayor, Aldermen, 
and Citizens of Philadelphia, and their successors; and I do so 
with the more confidence, as, from the nature of my bequests, and 



374 ANCIENT CURIOUS. AND FAMOUS .WILLS 

the benefits to result from them, I trust that my fellow-citizens of 
Philadelphia wiU observe and evince especial care and anxiety in 
selecting members for their City Councils, and other agents. 

"There are, however, some restrictions, which I consider it my 
duty to prescribe, and to be, amongst others, conditions on which 
my bequest for said College is made, and to be enjoyed, namely; 
first, I enjoin and require, that if at the close of any year, the in- 
come of the fund devoted to the purposes of the said College shall 
be more than sufficient for the maintenance of the Institution 
during that year, then the balance of the said income, after de- 
fraying such maintenance, shall be forthwith invested in good 
securities, thereafter to be and remain a part of the capital; but 
in no event, shall any part of the said capital be sold, disposed of, 
or pledged, to meet the current expenses of the said Institution, 
to which I devote the interest, income and dividends thereof, ex- 
clusively : Secondly, I enjoin and require that no ecclesiastic, mis- 
sionary, or minister of any sect whatsoever, shall ever hold or exercise 
any station or duty whatever in the said College; nor shall any such 
person ever be admitted for any purpose, or as a visitor, vnthin the 
premises appropriated to the purposes of the said college : — In 
making this restriction, I do not mean to cast any reflection upon 
any sect or person whatsoever; but as there is such a multitude 
of sects, and such a diversity of opinion amongst them, I desire to 
keep the tender minds of the orphans, who are to derive ad- 
vantage from this bequest, free from the excitement which clash- 
ing doctrines and sectarian controversy are so apt to produce; 
my desire is, that all the instructors and teachers in the College, 
shall take pains to instil into the minds of the scholars, the purest 
principles of morality, so that, on their entrance into active life, 
they may from inclination and habit, evince benevolence toward 
their fellow creatures, and a love of truth, sobriety, and industry, 
adopting at the same time, such religious tenets as their matured 
reason may enable them to prefer. If the income, arising from 
that part of the said sum of two millions of dollars, remaining after 
the construction and furnishing of the College and out-buildings, 
shall, owing to the increase of the number of orphans applying 
for admission, or other cause, be inadequate to the construction 
of new buildings, or the maintenance and education of as many 
orphans as may apply for admission, then such further sum as 
may be necessary for the construction of new buildings and the 
maintenance and education of such further number of orphans. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 375 

as can be maintained and instructed within such buildings as the 
said square of ground shall be adequate to, shall be taken from 
the final residuary fund hereinafter expressly referred to for the 
purpose, comprehending the income of my real estate in the city 
and county of Philadelphia, and the dividends of my stock in the 
Schuylkill Navigation Company — my design and desire being, 
that the benefits of said institution shall be extended to as great 
a number of orphans, as the hmits of the said square and buildings 
therein can accommodate." 



Will of Jay Gould 

Jay Gould died December 2, 1892. By his will, he transferred, 
as is well known, an immense fortune. After giving certain legacies 
to his children, relatives and friends, including one to a son for 
services rendered, and establishing a trust for the benefit of a 
grandson, he gives his residuary estate to trustees for the benefit 
of his children for life in equal separate trusts with gifts over to 
their issue as appointed by the beneficiaries, and in default thereof 
"in the proportions provided in and by the statutes of this State 
in the case of intestacy," and if no issue then "to my surviving 
children and to the issue of any deceased child share and share alike 
per stirpes and not per capita." 

The testator directs that the securities of each trust be separately 
invested, and that the accounts thereof shall be separately kept. 

A son and daughter are appointed guardians of his minor 
children. 

The seventh item in his will reads as follows : 

"Seventh. I hereby declare and provide that if any of my 
children shall marry without my consent during my lifetime, or 
thereafter without the consent of a majority of the then executors 
and trustees under this will, then and in that event the share 
allotted to the child so marrying in and by said will and codicil, 
shall be reduced one-half, and the principal of the other half of 
the said share shall be paid, assigned, transferred or set over to such 
persons as under the laws of the State of New York would take the 
same if I had died intestate." 

There is a marked similarity in many of the provisions of this 
will to those of the late William H. Vanderbilt. 



376 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Will of Horace Greeley 

Horace Greeley died at Pleasantville, New York, November 29, 
1872. His will is as follows: 

"I, Horace Greeley, being nearly sixty years old and in medium 
health but admonished by recent illness of the imcertainty of life, 
do make and publish this my last will and testament superseding 
and revoking all of earlier date which may be foimd or exist. 

"Item : I will and bequeath to my daughter, Ida Lillian Greeley, 
requesting her to share the proceeds therefrom with her sister 
Gabrielle Miriam Greeley all my books, copyrights and sums which 
may be due and owing me from publishers, at the time of my 
decease naming especially my 'American Conflict,' 'Recollections 
of a Busy Life,' 'Political Economy,' and 'What I Know of 
Farming,' as works wherefrom some income may accrue from 
copyrights after my decease. 

"Item : I will and bequeath to my two daughters aforesaid all 
the real estate whereof I may die possessed or be entitled to, except 
the farm on which my brother Nathan Barnes Greeley lives, in 
Wayne Township, Erie County, Pennsylvania, directing that my 
daughter Ida Lillian aforesaid be and hereby is authorized and em- 
powered during the minority of her sister Gabrielle Miriam to 
manage, let, improve, lease or sell the whole or any portion of the 
same as she shall judge expedient and advantageous to herself 
and her sister aforesaid, the same to be subject to the right of 
dower inhering in my wife Mary Young Greeley unless and until 
she shall see fit to release the same to my two daughters aforesaid. 

"Item: I bequeath to my brother Nathan Barnes Greeley 
aforesaid and his wife Ruhanna the full and uninterrupted use for 
life of either of them of my farm lying in the Township of Wayne, 
Erie County, Pennsylvania, aforesaid. And I further bequeath 
to whichever of his sons the said Nathan Barnes Greeley may 
designate the reversion or remainder of one-half of said farm, it 
being my understanding and purpose that said son shall live with 
and take care of said Nathan Barnes and Ruhanna Greeley to the 
end of their several lives. 

"Item: I direct that if any share or shares in the Tribune 
Association shall remain to me at my decease one of them shall be 
sold under the rules of said association to the highest bidder and 
the proceeds without deduction or abatement be paid over as my 
bequest to the Childrens Aid Society, whereof New York City is 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 377 

the focus of operations, to be invested or disbursed as its proper 
authorities shall direct. If more than one share of stock in the 
Tribune Association shall remain to me at my death and if my wife, 
Mary Young Greeley, shall survive me, I bequeath to her one-half of 
such remaining shares of stock in Ueu of all other dower, except 
those reserved to her as aforesaid, and I hereby renounce and dis- 
claim in favor of my said wife aU claim on my part or on that of my 
heirs to the real estate once mine but now wholly hers near the 
Village of Chappaqua in the Township of New Castle, West- 
chester County, New York, as also to the two shares of Tribime 
stock now standing in her name and which were never mine but 
wholly purchased by her money, and I further renounce and dis- 
claim in her favor all right to the stock and funds of the Northern 
Pacific Rail Road which I have paid for with her money and which 
now stands in her name on the books of the Company and I give 
and bequeath unto my said wife all the animals, implements, 
machinery, crops, products and materials which may at the time 
of my death exist upon or pertain to her farm and buildings in 
New Castle township aforesaid : 

"Item : I direct that whatever stock in the Tribune Association 
may remain to me at the time of my death after fulfilling and satis- 
fying the foregoing bequests be sold in accordance with the rules 
of said association and that from the proceeds thereof and from 
the proceeds of such portions of the debts due or owing to me 
from all persons whatever as may at anytime be collected, there 
be paid the following bequests in their order namely : 

"1. Two thousand dollars to my sister Margaret Greeley Bush, 
in case she survive me, and in case she should not but her daughter 
Evangeline Bush shall survive me then the said sum of two thou- 
sand dollars shall be paid to her my said sister's daughter Evange- 
line Bush. 

"2. One thousand dollars each to my sister Arminda, wife of 
Lovewell Greeley and Esther, wife of John F. Cleveland or to their 
surviving children respectively in case they or either of them shall 
die before I do. 

"3. I give or bequeath all the residue or remainder of my prop- 
erty of whatever name or nature to my daughters Ida LilUan 
and Gabrielle Miriam Greeley and to the survivor in case but one 
of them shall survive me. 

"I hereby appoint Samuel Sinclair, Publisher Tribune, Charles 
Storrs, merchant now of 73 Worth Street, New York City and 



378 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Richard C. Manning now residing in Clinton Avenue, Brooklyn 
or any two of them who may survive me and accept the trusts, ex- 
ecutors of this my last will and testament. 

"In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal 
this ninth day of January in the year of oiu* Lord one thousand 
eight hundred and seventy-one. 

"HOEACE GbEELEY." 



Will of Alexander Hamilton 

"In the name of God, Amen. I, Alexander Hamilton, of the 
City of New- York, Counsellor at Law, do make this my last Will 
and Testament as follows : 

"First. I appoint John B. Church, Nicholas Fish, and Na- 
thaniel Pendleton, of the city aforesaid. Esquires, to be Executors 
and Trustees of this my Will ; and I devise to them, their heirs 
and assigns, as joint tenants and not as tenants in common, all 
my estate real and personal whatsoever, and wheresoever, upon 
trust at their discretion to sell and dispose of the same, at such 
time and times, in such manner, and upon such terms, as they, 
the survivors and survivor, shall think fit ; and out of the proceeds 
to pay all the debts which I shall owe at the time of my decease ; 
in whole, if the fimd be sufficient; proportionably, if it shall be 
insufficient ; and the residue, if any there shall be, to pay and de- 
liver to my excellent and dear wife Elizabeth Hamilton. 

"Though, if it should please God to spare my life, I may look 
for a considerable surplus out of my present property ; yet, it He 
should speedily call me to the eternal world, a forced sale, as is 
usual, may possibly render it insufficient to satisfy my debts. I 
pray God that something may remain for the maintenance and 
education of my dear wife and children. But should it on the 
contrary happen, that there is not enough for the payment of my 
debts, I entreat my dear children, if they, or any of them, should 
ever be able, to make up the deficiency. I, without hesitation, 
commit to their delicacy a wish which is dictated by my own. — 
Though conscious that I have too far sacrificed the interests of my 
family to public avocations, and on this account have the less claim 
to burthen my children, yet I trust in their magnanimity to appre- 
ciate as they ought, this my request. In so unfavourable an event 
of things, the support of their dear mother, with the most respectful 
and tender attention, is a duty, all the sacredness of which they 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 379 

will feel. Probably her own patrimonial resources will preserve 
her from indigence. But in all situations they are charged to bear 
in mind, that she has been to them the most devoted and best of 
mothers." 

Alexander Hamilton was, perhaps, the most finished character 
in the history of the United States, and the value of his services 
to this country caimot be overestimated : after the lapse of more 
than a hundred years, his greatness and usefulness are still re- 
vered, and his untimely death lamented. 

On Jime 18, 1804, Aaron Burr addressed to Hamilton, a com- 
munication calling attention to a letter published by Charles B. 
Cooper, wherein he said, "I could detail to you a still more des- 
picable opinion which General Hamilton has expressed of Mr. 
Burr," together with a further statement that Burr was "a dan- 
gerous man and one who ought not to be trusted with the reins 
of government:" the lengthy and dignified answer of Hamilton 
was not satisfactory to Burr, and again on June 21st, he wrote, 
"Political opposition can never absolve gentlemen from a rigid 
adherence to the laws of honour and rules of decorum." Further 
unsatisfactory correspondence followed, with the result that the 
two met at seven o'clock a.m., July 11th, 1804, at Weehawken, 
New Jersey, opposite New York, and fought a duel; Hamilton 
fell at Burr's first shot, mortally wounded, dying the next day at 
two o'clock : on the day before the duel, Hamilton wrote Nathaniel 
Pendleton, who accompanied him to the field, a letter containing 
his motives for accepting the challenge, and his reflections on the 
situation, which is in part as follows: 

"On my expected interview with Col. Burr, I think it proper 
to make some remarks explanatory of my conduct, motives, and 
views. 

"I was certainly desirous of avoiding this interview for the most 
cogent reasons. 

"1. My religious and moral principles are strongly opposed to 
the practice of duelling, and it would ever give me pain to be 
obliged to shed the blood of a fellow creature in a private combat 
forbidden by the laws. 

"2. My wife and children are extremely dear to me, and my 
life is of the utmost importance to them, in various views. 

"3. I feel a sense of obhgation towards my creditors; who in 
case of accident to me, by the forced sale of my property, may be 



380 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

in some degree sufferers. I did not think myself at liberty as a 
man of probity, lightly to expose them to this hazard. 

"4. I am conscious of no ill will to Col. Burr, distinct from 
pblitical opposition, which, as I trust, has proceeded from pure 
and upright motives. 

"Lastly, I shall hazard much, and can possibly gain nothing 
by the issue of the interview. 

"But it was, as I conceive, impossible for me to avoid it. There 
were intrinsic difficulties in the thing, and artificial embarrassments 
from the manner of proceeding on the part of Col. Burr. 

"... I have resolved, if our interview is conducted in the 
usual manner, and it pleases God to give me the opportunity, to 
reserve and throw away my first fire, and I have thoughts even of 
reserving my second fire — and thus giving a double opportunity 
to Col. Burr to pause and to reflect. 



"To those who, with me, abhorring the practice of duelling, may 
think that I ought on no account to have added to the number of 
bad examples, I answer, that my relative situation, as well in pub- 
lic as private, enforcing all the considerations which constitute 
what men of the world denominate honour, imposed on me (as I 
thought) a peculiar necessity not to decline the call. 

"A. H." 

Hamilton was buried on the following Saturday with every 
possible evidence of respect and sorrow ; in the funeral procession 
his gray horse dressed in mourning was led by two black servants 
dressed in white ; the streets of New York were lined with people, 
and doors and windows were filled, and housetops occupied, and 
every civic and military organization was represented. Gouverneur 
Morris delivered the funeral oration from a stage erected in the por- 
tico of Trinity Church to an immense concourse. When Hamilton's 
distracted wife and children, seven in number, were brought to 
his bedside, shortly before his death, he said to her, "Remember, 
my Eliza, you are a Christian." 

General Hamilton married Elizabeth Schuyler, a daughter of 
General Philip Schuyler, thus allying himself with one of the most 
distinguished founders of New York. 

Aaron Burr lived to be eighty years old. The loss of his only 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 381 

daughter, Theodosia Alston, at sea, left him without family ties. 
There is a tradition that Burr, a broken and sorrowing man, watched 
the sea ever afterward, hoping that the lost Theodosia might be 
returned to him. At the age of seventy-eight he married the second 
time ; he and this wife separated, but were never divorced. 

Will of Edwakd H. Hakriman 

This will is imique in its brevity, containing only ninety-nine 
words, and has been criticised for its omissions : it will be seen that 
there is no mention of the testator's children, and that the will has 
but two witnesses, which is unusual where so vast an estate is 
disposed of and the property located in many states. It will also 
be noted that the testator's wife, who is made executrix, is not 
exempted from giving bond as such. Mr. Harriman, at the time of 
his death, controlled perhaps the largest corporate interests of any 
person in the United States, particularly those of railways. He 
died in September, 1909. His will is as follows : 

"I, Edward H. Harriman of Arden in the State of New York, 
do make, publish and declare this as and for my last will and testa- 
ment that is to say : 

"I give, devise and bequeath all of my property real and per- 
sonal of every kind and nature to my wife, Mary V(. Harri- 
man to be hers absolutely and forever and I do hereby nominate 
and appoint the said Mary W. Harriman to be executrix in this 
my will. 

"In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 
8th day of June in the year 1903. 

"Edwabd H. Hakhiman." 

Will of Patrick Henrt 

"There is no retreat but in submission and slavery. Our 
chains are already forged. Their clanking may be heard on the 
plains of Boston. The next gale that sweeps from the north will 
bring the clash of resounding arms. Our brethren are already in 
the field. Why stand we here idle ? What is it that gentlemen 
wish ? What would they have ? Is life so dear or peace so sweet 
as to be piu-chased at the price of chains and slavery ? Forbid it. 
Almighty God ! I know not what course others may take, but 
as for me, give me liberty or give me death !" 

Patrick Henry was born in Hanover County, Virginia, on May 



382 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

29, 1736 ; he died at his county seat. Red Hill, in Charlotte County, 
Virginia, on June 6, 1799. The will of this distinguished orator 
and statesman is given at length ; notwithstanding the conditions 
imposed in restraint of marriage, his widow took unto herself an- 
other spouse. Judge Edmund Winston, who was Patrick Henry's 
cousin. 

" In The Name of God, Amen : — I, Patrick Henry, of Charlotte 
County, at my leisure and in my health do make this my last 
Will and Testament in manner following, and do write it throughout 
with my own hand. I, knowing my ever dear wife Dorethea to 
be worthy of the most full and entire confidence, I do will and 
devise to her the Guardianship of my children, and do direct and 
order that she shall not in any manner be accountable to any 
person for her management therein. I do give to my said wife 
Dorethea all my Lands at and adjoining my dwelling place called 
Red Hill, purchased from Fuqua, Booker, Watkins, & others, out 
of the tract called Watkins's Order, to hold during her life, together 
with twenty of my slaves, her choice of them all, and at her death 
the said Lands are to be equally divided in value in fee simple be- 
tween two of my sons by her ; and she is to name and point out the 
two Sons that are to take the said Lands in fee simple at her dis- 
cretion. I will and direct all my Lands in my Long Island estate 
in Campbell County to be divided into two parts by Randolph's 
old road, till you come along it to the place where the new road 
going from the Overseer's house to Davis's mill crosses it at two 
white oaks and the stump of a third, from thence by a straight liae 
a few hundreds yards to Potts's Spring at the old Quarter place, 
from thence as the water runs to the river which is near to the 
upper part where Mr. Philip Payne lives is to be added the Long 
Island and other Islands, to the lower part the Overseer's residence 
and also one hundred and fifty acres of the back land out of the 
upper part most convenient for both parts for Timbers to the lower. 
These two estates to be in fee simple to two of my other sons by 
my said wife, whom she is also to name and point out. I will and 
direct that there be raised towards paying my debts one thousand 
pounds by sale in fee simple, out of my following Lands, viz. — 
Leatherwood, Prince Edward Lands, Kentucky Lands, Seven 
Island Lands, and those lately purchased of Marshall Mason, 
Nowell, Wimbush, Massy, and Prewett, or such parts thereof 
as my Executors may direct, and the residue thereof I will and di- 
rect to be allotted equally in value into two parts for a provision 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 383 

for other two of my sons in fee simple by my said wife, which sons 
she shall in like manner name and point out. But if the payment 
of my debts is or can be accomplished without selling any of my 
slaves or personal estate, then I desire none of these Lands to be 
sold, but they are to be allotted as the provision aforesaid for two 
of my sons. Thus I have endeavored to provide for my six sons 
by my dear Dorethea; their names are Patrick, Fayette, Alex- 
ander Spotswood, Nathaniel, Edward Winston, and John. I will 
my slaves to be equally divided amongst my children by my 
present wife except my daughter Winston, who has received hers, 
or nearly so ; but the twenty slaves given to my said wife for her 
life, I desire she may give as she pleases amongst her children 
by me. I will that my wife have power to execute Deeds for any 
Lands I have agreed to sell, in the most ample manner. I give to 
my Grandson Edmund Henry, when he arrives to the age of twenty- 
one years and not before, in fee simple, the thousand acres of Land 
where his father died, joining Perego's Une, Cole's line, and the line 
of the land intended for my son Edward, dec'd., together with the 
negroes and other property on the said one thousand acres of Land. 
But in case the said Edmund shall die under the age of twenty- 
one years, and without Issue then alive, I will the said Land, 
Slaves, and other property to my six sons above mentioned equally 
in fee simple. I have heretofore provided for the children of my 
first marriage, but I will to my daughters, Roane and Aylett, two 
hundred pounds each of them as soon as my estate can conveniently 
pay it by cropping. In case either of my six sons, viz. — Patrick, 
Fayette, Alexander Spotswood, Nathaniel, Edward Winston, or 
John, shall die under the age of twenty-one, unmarried and without 
Issue then living, I will that the estate of such decedent be divided 
among the Survivors of them in such manner as my said wife 
shall direct. 

"All the rest and residue of my estate, whether Lands, Slaves, 
personal estate, Debts and rights of every kind, I give to my ever 
dear and beloved wife Dorethea, the better to enable her to edu- 
cate and bring up my Children by her, and in particular I desire 
she may at her discretion collect, accommodate, manage, and dis- 
pose of the debt due to me from the late Judge Wilson in such man- 
ner as she thinks best, without being accountable to any person, but 
so as that the produce, whether in Lands, Slaves, or other effects, 
be by her given amongst her children by me, as I do hereby direct 
all the said residue to be given by her after her decease. If the 



384 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

said debt from the said Wilson cannot be recovered, then I give 
the Lands I covenanted to sell to him, the said Wilson, lying in 
Virginia and North Carolina, to my said wife in fee simple to make 
the most of and apply for the benefit of her children by me as 
aforesaid. But in case my said wife shall marry again, in that 
case I revoke and make void every gift, legacy, authority, or power 
herein mentioned, and order, will, and direct. She, my said wife, 
shall have no more of my estate than she can recover by Law ; nor 
shall she be Guardian to any of my children, or Executrix of this 
my Will. 

"I will that my daughters, Dorethea S. Winston, M. Catharine 
Henry, and Sarah Butler Henry, be made equal in their negroes. 
In case the debt from Judge Wilson's estate be recovered, I do 
desire and will that five hundred dollars each be paid to my dear 
Daughters, Anne Roane & Elizabeth Aylett, and Martha Fon- 
taine. 

"This is all the inheritance I can give to my dear family. The 
religion of Christ can give them one which will make them rich 
indeed. 

"I appoint my dear wife Dorethea, Executrix, my friends Ed- 
mund Winston, Philip Payne, and George D. Winston, Executors, 
of this my last Will, revoking all others. In witness whereof I 
have hereunto set my hand and seal this 20th November, 1798. 

"P. Henbt, L. S." 

" Codicil to my Will, written by myself throughout, and by me 
annexed and added to the said Will and made part thereof in 
manner following, that is to say: Whereas, since the making 
of my said Will, I have covenanted to sell my Lands on Leather- 
wood to George Hairston, including the 1000 acres intended for 
my Grandson Edmund Henry, and have agreed to purchase from 
General Henry Lee two shares of the Saura Town Lands, amount- 
ing to about 6,314 acres certain, and the debt due me from'Wilson's 
estate is agreed to go in payment for the said purchase, whereby 
there will exist no necessity to sell any of my estate for payment 
of my debts, I do therefore give the said Saura Town Lands in 
fee simple equally to be divided in value to two of my sons by my 
dear wife Dorethea, and desire her to name the sons who are to 
take that estate, and it is to be in Lieu and place of the Leather- 
wood, Prince Edward, Kentucky, and Seven Islands, and other 
lands allotted for two of my sons in my said Will, so that the Red 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 385 

Hill estate, Long Island estate, and the Saura Town estate will 
furnish seats for my six sons by my wife. 

" In case any part of my Lands be evicted or lost for want of 
title, I will that a contribution of my other sons make good such 
loss in Lands of equal value. 

" I give to my Daughter Fontaine five hundred dollars ; to each 
of my Daughters, Anne Roane and Elizabeth Aylett, one thousand 
dollars ; to my Daughter Dorethea S. Winston, one thousand dol- 
lars, as soon as my estate can conveniently raise these sums. To 
my Daughters, Martha Catharine and Sarah Butler, I give one 
thousand pounds each, and these legacies to all and each of my 
daughters are to be in Lieu and place of everything before intended 
for them, and if it is not in the power of my Executors to pay my 
said Daughters their legacies in money from my estate, then and 
in that case all my said Daughters are to take property, real or 
personal, at fair valuation, for their legacies respectively. And 
to this end I give my Lands in Kentucky, Prince Edward, at the 
Seven Islands, all my Lands lately purchased near Falling River 
and its waters, containing about 17 or 1800 acres, and all others 
not mentioned herein, to my Executors for the aforesaid purpose 
of paying Legacies and for allowing my Grandson Edmund Henry 
eight hundred pounds in Lieu of the Leatherwood Lands in case 
he shall attain the age of twenty one years or marries, but not 
otherwise. His Land, if he has it at all, is to be in fee simple, as 
also all the Lands that may be allotted in Lieu of money are to 
go in fee simple. 

"I also will that my said Dear wife shall at her discretion dis- 
pose of three hundred pounds worth of the said last mentioned 
Lands to any of her children by me, and finally of whatsoever 
residue there may happen to be after satisfying the foregoing 
demands, and that she shall have in fee simple all the residue of 
my estate, real or personal, not disposed of for the intent and pur- 
pose of giving the same amongst her children by me. If she chooses 
to set free one or two of my slaves, she is to have full power to do 
so. In case Judge Wilson's debt is lost by General Lee not taking 
it in payment, whereby the contract for Saura Town Lands becomes 
void, this Codicil is to become of no effect, and is to be void and 
null, and my Executors are to compensate the two of my sons to 
whom my Leatherwood Lands were to go, by the Lands sold to 
Judge Wilson, and they are in that case to have all the Lands 
directed to be joined with the Leatherwood, and so much money 



386 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

as will make their Lotts equal in value with the Lotts of my 
other sons by my present wife. 

"In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 
12th day of February, 1799. 

"P. Henkt, L. 6. 

"Indorsements : The within is my Will written throughout by 
my own hand this 20th November, 1798. 

"P. Henbt. 
"The Codicil also written by myself, February 12th, 1799. 

"P. Henbt." 

Will of Oliver Wendell Holmes 

Oliver Wendell Holmes died October 7, 1894. His will is as 
follows : 

"Know all men by these presents, that, I Oliver Wendell Holmes 
of Boston, in the County of SufiPolk and Commonwealth of Massa- 
chusetts, being of sound and disposing mind and memory, do 
make this my last will and testament, hereby revoking all former 
wills and codicils by me at any time made. 

"Imprimis. I direct my executor hereinafter named to pay all 
my just debts and funeral expenses as soon as may be after my 
decease. 

"Item. I give to my grandson Edward Jackson Holmes, son of 
my youngest child Edward Jackson Holmes, five thousand dollars. 

"Item. All the rest and residue of the property, real and per- 
sonal, of which I shall die seized or possessed, or to which I shall be 
in any way entitled or over which I shall have any power of appoint- 
ment at the time of my decease, I give, devise, bequeath and appoint 
to my son Oliver Wendell Holmes junior, to his own use, absolutely 
and in fee simple. 

"Item. I appoint said Oliver Wendell Holmes junior, executor 
of this my will and request that no surety be required on his offi- 
cial bond. 

"In witness whereof I hereto set my hand and seal, and declare 
this to be my last will and testament, this first day of June, a.d., 
eighteen hundred and eighty nine. 

" Oliver W. Holmes." 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 387 

Will of Johns Hopkins 

Johns Hopkins, an American financier and philanthropist, and the 
founder of the Hospital and University which bear his name, died in 
Baltimore, Maryland, December 24, 1873. 

The first item in his will is as follows : 

"First and principally, I commit, with humble reverence, my 
soul to the keeping of Almighty God." 

Then follows in great detail, the provisions for the establishment 
of the Johns Hopkins University and the Johns Hopkins Hospital. 
It was directed that the Hospital should have buildings, not only 
for the whites, but for the sick, poor colored people, and also a 
building for the reception and care of colored orphans and destitute 
children. Both the University and the Hospital were corporations 
which the will declares had been already created at the instance 
of the testator. The hopes of the testator with reference to the 
success of these institutions, has been fully realized, for they are 
recognized throughout the country as models of their kind. 

The amount given to these two institutions was approximately 
seven and one-half million dollars. 

Will of Stephen Hopkins 

Stephen Hopkins, a passenger of the voyage of the Mayflower 
died at Plymouth on or about June 6, 1644 ; his will in part is as 
follows : 

"The sixt of June 1644 I Stephen Hopkins of Plymouth in New 
England being weake yet in good and prfect memory blessed be God 
yet considering the fraile estate of all men I do ordaine and 
make this to be my last will and testament in manner and 
forme following. ... I do bequeath by this my will to my 
sonn Giles Hopkins my great Bull w°^ is now in the hands of M"° 
Warren Also I do give to Stephen Hopkins my sonn Giles his 
Sonne twenty shillings in M^° Warrens hands for the hire of the said 
Bull Also I give and bequeath to my daughter Constanc Snow 
the wyfe of Nicholas Snow my mare also I give unto my daughter 
Deborah Hopkins the brodhorned black cowe and her calf 
and half the Cowe called Motley Also I doe give and be- 
queath unto my daughter Damaris Hopkins the Cowe 
called Damaris heiffer and the white faced calf and half the 
cowe called Mottley Also I give to my daughter Ruth the Cowe 



388 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 



eta 



called Red Cole and her calfe and a Bull at Yarmouth w is In the 
keepeing of Giles Hopkins w"" is an yeare and advantage old and 
half the curld Cowe Also I give and bequeath to my daughter 
Elizabeth the Cowe called Smykins and her calf and thother half of 
the Curld Cowe w'" Ruth and an yearelinge heifPer w* out a tayle 
in the keepeing of Gyles Hopkins at Yarmouth. Also I do give and 
bequeath unto my foure daughters ... all the mooveable goods the 
w"" do belong to my house, as linnen woollen beds bed-cloathes 
pott kettles pewter or whatsoev' are moveable . . . and foure 
silver spoones that is to say to eich of them. . . ." 

The inventory shows a long list of personal property, including the 
bulls, cows, the "heiffer without a tayle," spoons and other house- 
hold goods. 

WiiJi OF Sam Houston 

Sam Houston died July 25, 1863 ; here is his will : 

"In the name of God, the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit, I, 
Sam Houston, of the County of Walker and State of Texas, being 
fully aware of the uncertainty of life, and the certainty of death, do 
ordain and declare this my last Will and Testament. 

"First : I will that all my just debts be paid out of my personal 
effects, as I think them sufficient without disposing of any of the 
family servants. 

"Second : I bequeath my entire remaining estate to my beloved 
wife, Margaret and our children, and I desire that they may remain 
with her so long as she may remain in widowhood, and should she at 
anytime marry, I desire that my daughters should be subject to her 
control, so long as their minority lasts. 

"Third : My will is that my sons should receive solid and useful 
education, and that no portion of their time may be devoted to the 
study of abstract science. I greatly desire that they may possess 
a thorough knowledge of the English language, with a good knowl- 
edge of the Latin language. I also request that they be instructed 
in the knowledge of the Holy Scripture, and next to these that they 
may be rendered thorough in a knowledge of Geography & History. 
I wish my sons early taught an utter contempt for novels & light 
reading. In all that pertains to my sons I wish particular regard 
paid to their morals as well as to the character and morals of those 
with whom they may be associated or instructed. 

"Fourth : I leave to my wife, as Executrix, and to the following 
gentlemen as my Executors, Thomas Gibbs, Thomas Carothers, 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 389 

J. Carroll Smith, and Anthony M. Branch, my much beloved friends 
in whom I place my entire confidence, to make such disposition of 
my personal and real estate as may seem to them best for the 
necessities and interests and welfare of my family. 

"Fifth: To my dearly beloved wife, Margaret, I confide the 
rearing, education and moral training of our sons and daughters. 

"Sixth: To my eldest son, Sam Houston, Jr., I bequeath my 
sword, worn in the battle of San Jacinto, never to be drawn only in 
defense of the constitution, the laws and liberties of his country. 
If any attempt should ever be made to assail one of these, I wish 
it to be used in its vindication. 

"Seventh: It is my will that my library should be left at 
the disposition of my dear wife. 

"Eighth: To my dearly beloved wife I bequeath my watch, 
and all my jewelry, subject to her disposition. 

"Ninth: I hereby appoint my dearly beloved wife, Margaret, 
Testamentary Guardian of my children, their persons and estates 
during minority. But should a wise Providence, through its in- 
scrutable decrees see fit to deprive our oflfspring of both parents 
and make them orphans indeed, it is hereby delegated to my Exe- 
cutors who are hereby confirmed, J. Carroll Smith, Thomas Car- 
others, Thomas Gibbs, and Anthony M. Branch, to make such dis- 
position in regard to their welfare as they may think best calculated 
to carry out the designs as expressed in this my last Will and Testa- 
ment. 

"Tenth: And I direct and enjoin my Executrix and Executors 
that after the probate and registry of this my last Will, and return 
of Inventory of my estate, the County or other Court of Probate, 
have no further control over my Executors or Testamentary 
Guardian or of my estate. 

"Done at Huntsville the second day of April, 1863. 

"Sam Houston." 

Win OP JtJLiA Waed Howe 

Julia Ward Howe, poet, philanthropist and advocate of abolition 
and of the legal and political rights of women, died October 17, 
1910, at the age of ninety-one. 

The "Battle Hymn of the Republic," her most famous crea- 
tion, was written in 1861; inspired, it is said, by the sight of 
troops marching to the tune of "John Brown's Body." 



390 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Her will was filed for probate In November 1910 ; it is in these 
words : 

" I, Julia Ward Howe, of Boston, in the County of Suffolk and 
Commonwealth of Massachusetts, widow, do make this my last 
will and testament. 

" I give and devise to George H. Richards, of Boston aforesaid, 
counsellor at law, and to his heirs, all my real estate in Tumwater, 
Thurston County, in the State of Washington, but in trust never- 
theless, for the benefit of my grandchildren, Samuel P. Hall and 
Alice M. Richards and their heirs, with power to sell the same or 
any portion or portions thereof and to invest and re-invest the 
proceeds of any such sales in either real estate or personal property, 
and in trust to pay the net income of this trust equally to my said 
grandchildren or their heirs, and at the end of five years from the 
time of my death to sell all property, both real and personal, then 
held in this trust and pay over the proceeds of the same equally 
to my said grandchildren or their heirs, unless by their joint written 
request they shall name a later date for the termination of this trust. 

"All the rest and residue of my property, real and personal, I 
give, devise and bequeath to my four children, Florence M. Hall, 
Henry M. Howe, Laura E. Richards and Maud H. Elliott, and to the 
issue of any that may have deceased by right of representation. 

" I appoint the said George H. Richards, executor of this my will 
and I request that no sureties be required on his official bond either 
as executor or trustee. * 

" In witness whereof, I, the said Julia Ward Howe, have hereunto 
set my hand and seal this eleventh day of November, a.d. 1897. 

"Jtjlia Wakd Howe. (Seal) 

" Signed, sealed and published by the said Julia Ward Howe, 
as and for her last will and testament, in the presence of us, who at 
her request, in her presence and in the presence of each other have 
hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses. 

" Mahgaeet Livingston Chanler 

"Henhy Jaques 

"Hannah McRae " 

Will of John James Ingalls 

John J. Ingalls died August 16, 1900. His will was dated 
August 24, 1889, and is as follows : 
"In the Name of God, Amen. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 391 

"I, John James Ingalls, of the City and County of Atchison in 
the State of Kansas, Gentleman, mindful of the uncertainty of life 
and the certainty of death, do make, publish and declare this my 
last Will and Testament. 

"I give, bequeath and devise unto my beloved wife, Anna Louisa, 
all my property and estate, real, personal and mixed of every 
description and wherever situated, and appoint her the sole execu- 
trix hereof without bond, surety or imdertaking. 

" In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this 24th day 
of August, 1889. 

"John J. Ingalls." 

Will of Washington Irving 

Washington Irving died November 28, 1859. 

The following is an abstract of his will, which was drawn by 
himself. It bears date the 3rd day of December, 1858, not quite 
a year before his death. He declared his general intention to 
be, to dispose of all his estate so that it might be, as far as possible, 
kept together as a maintenance for his brother Ebenezer and his 
daughters, who had been accustomed to reside with him, to enable 
them to live with the same degree of comfort and in the same re- 
spectable style they had been accustomed to imder his roof. 

He gives to his nephew, Pierre Munro Irving, the copyright of his 
" Life of Washington," with the stereotype and electrotype plates 
which had been executed for the same, and the plates engraved 
for its illustration, together with the printed copies of the work 
that might have been stricken oflE, leaving him to do with the 
copyright, types, etc., what he might think proper for his pecuniary 
benefit. He bequeaths to him, also, all his letters and unpub- 
lished manuscripts. 

All the rest of his personal estate, he gives to his brother Eben- 
ezer for his life; and, on his death, to his daughters, then sur- 
viving him and unmarried. The will then proceeds : 

"Second. I give and devise my land and dwelling house in West- 
chester County, which I have called 'Sunnyside,' to my brother, 
Ebenezer Irving, for his Kfe. On his death, I give the same in 
fee to his daughters or daughter surviving him, and unmarried; 
trusting they will endeavor, as I have endeavored, to make this 
homestead a rallying point, where the various branches of the 
family connection may always be sure of a cordial welcome. 



392 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

"I trust, also, they will never sell nor devise this particular 
property out of the family — though circumstances may render 
it expedient or necessary for them to rent it out or lease it for a 
term; but it is my wish that the last survivor of those to whom 
I thus bequeath my estate will, in turn, bequeath it entire to 
some meritorious member of the family bearing the family name, 
so that 'Sunnyside' may continue to be, as long as possible, an 
Irving homestead. 

"I give all the residue of my estate, real and personal, to ac- 
company the devise of ' Sunnyside ' to the same persons, for the 
like interests, and subject to the like contingencies and power. 

"Third. I authorize my executors to make sale of, or other- 
wise convert into money or productive funds, all other lands and 
tenements I may own, wheresoever situated. 

"Last. I appoint my brother, Ebenezer Irving, and my nephew 
Pierre M. Irving, executors of this my will. I revoke all other 
and former wills." 

****** * 

"Washington Ikving." 

Will of Andrew Jackson 

Andrew Jackson died June 8, 1845. Extracts from his will, 
together with a synopsis of its interesting provisions, are here 
given: 

"And whereas since executing my will of the 30th of Septem- 
ber, 1833, my estate has become greatly involved by my liabili- 
ties for the debts of my well beloved and adopted son Andrew 
Jackson Jnr., which makes it necessary to alter the same." 

"First. I bequeath my body to the dust whence it came, and 
my soul to God who gave it: hoping for a happy immortahty 
through the atoning merits of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour 
of the World." 

He desires that his body be buried by the side of his wife in 
the garden at the Hermitage, in the vault prepared in the garden. 

He desires that all of his just debts be paid out of his personal 
and real estate by his Executor, including the debt of "my good 
friends Gen'l J. B. Planche & Co. of New Orleans, for the sum 
of six thousand dollars with the interest accruing thereon, loaned 
to me to meet the debts due by A. Jackson Jnr., for the purchase 
of the Plantation, from Hiram G. Runnels, lying on the East bank 



ANCIENT, CXIRIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 393 

of the River Mississippi in the State of Mississippi. Also a debt 
due by me of ten thousand dollars borrowed of my friends Blair 
and Rives, of the City of Washington and District of Columbia, 
with the interest accruing thereon being apphed to the payment 
of the land bot. of Hiram G. Runnels as aforesaid, and for the 
faithful payment of the aforesaid recited debts, I hereby be- 
queath all my real and personal estate. After those debts are fully 
paid &c." 

After the before recited debts are fully paid, he gives to his 
adopted son Andrew Jackson, Junier, the tract of land "whereon 
I now live, known h^ the Hermitage, with all my negroes that 
I may die possessed of, with the except on hereinafter named, 
with all their increase, all household furniture, farming tools, 
stock of all kind, both on the Hermitage tract farms as well as 
those on the Mississippi plantation, and his heirs forever." 

To his beloved granddaughter, Rachel Jackson, daughter of 
A. Jackson, Jr., and Sarah, his wife, he gives several negroes 
(conveyance theretofore deposited with wife of Andrew Jackson, 
Jr.), and to his beloved grandson Andrew Jackson, son of A. 
Jackson, Jr., he gives a negro boy named "Ned, son of Black- 
smith Aaron and Hannah his wife"; to his grandson, Samuel 
Jackson, he gives " one negro boy Davy or George, son of Squire 
and his wife Gincy." 

To Sarah Jackson, wife of his adopted son, Andrew Jackson, 
of whom he speaks in very affectionate terms, "I hereby recognize 
by this bequest, the gift I made her on her marriage, of the negro 
girl Gracy which I bought for her, ... as her maid and seamster 
with her increase, and my house servant Hannah, and her two 
daughters, ... to her and her heirs forever." "This gift and 
bequest is made for my great affection for her; as a memento of 
her uniform attention to me, and kindness on all occasions, and 
particularly when worn down with sickness, pain and debihty, 
she has been more than a daughter to me and I hope she will 
never be disturbed in the enjoyment of this gift, and bequest by 
any one." 

To his nephew, Andrew J. Donelson, he gives "the elegant 
sword presented to me by the State of Tennessee," with an in- 
junction. 

To his grandnephew, Andrew Jackson Coffee, "I bequeath 
the elegant sword presented to me by the Rifle Company of New 
Orleans, commanded by Capt Beal, as a memento of my regard 



394 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

and to bring to his recollection the gallant services of his deceased 
father Genl. John Coffee in the late Indian and British war under 
my command, and his gallant conduct in defence of New Orleans 
in 1814 and 1815, with this injunction, that he wield it in the 
protection of the rights secured to the American citizen under 
our glorious constitution, against all invaders whether foreign 
foes or intestine traitors." 

To his grandson, Andrew Jackson, "the sword presented to me 
by the citizens of Philadelphia, with this injunction, that he will 
always use it in defence of the constitution of our glorious union, 
and the perpetuation of our repubhcan system — remembering 
the motto "draw me not without occasion nor sheath me without 
honor!'" 

"The pistols of Genl. Lafayette which was presented by him 
to Genl. George Washington and by Col. Wm. Robertson pre- 
sented to me, I bequeath to George Washington Lafayette as a 
memento of the illustrious personages thro whose hands they 
have passed, his father and the father of his Country." 

"The gold box presented to me by the Corporation of the City 
of New York — the large silver vase presented to me by the Ladies 
of Charleston, South Carolina, my native State, with the large 
picture representing the unfurling of the American banner, pre- 
sented to me by the Citizens of South CaroUna, when it was re- 
fused to be accepted by the United States Senate, I leave in 
trust to my son A. Jackson Jnr. with directions that should our 
happy Country not be blessed with peace, an event not always 
to be expected, he will at the close of the war or end of the con- 
flict, present each of said articles of inestimable value, to that 
patriot residing in the City or State from which they were pre- 
sented who shall be adjudged by his Countrymen, or the Ladies, 
to have been the most vaUent in defence of his Country and our 
Country's rights." 

To General Robert Armstrong he bequeaths his case of pistols 
and sword worn by himself throughout his military career. 

To his son he leaves all his walking canes, and other relics, to 
be distributed amongst his young relatives, namesakes — first, 
to his namesake, Andrew J. Donelson, son of his nephew, A. J. 
Donelson, first choice, and then to be distributed as his son may 
think proper. 

"Lastly, I appoint my adopted son Andrew Jackson Jnr., my 
whole and sole Executor of this my last will and testament." 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 395 

Will of John Jay 

The will of Mr. John Jay, who died at his residence, Bedford, 
Westchester County, New York, May 17, 1829, in the eighty- 
fourth year of his age, is as follows : 

"I, John Jay, of Bedford, in the county of Westchester, and 
State of New York, being sensible of the importance and duty of 
so ordering my affairs as to be prepared for death, do make and 
declare my last will and testament in manner and form following, 
viz. : — Unto Him Who is the author and giver of all good, I 
tender sincere and humble thanks for His manifold and unmerited 
blessings, and especially for our redemption and salvation by His 
beloved Son. He has been pleased to bless me with excellent 
parents, with a virtuous wife, and with worthy children. His 
protection has accompanied me through many eventful years, 
faithfully employed in the service of my country ; and His provi- 
dence has not only conducted me to this tranquil situation, but 
also given me abundant reason to be contented and thankful. 
Blessed be His holy name. While my children lament my de- 
parture, let them recollect that in doing them good, I was only 
the agent of their Heavenly Father, and that He never with- 
draws His care and consolations from those who diligently seek 
Him. 

"I would have my funeral decent, but not ostentatious. No 
scarfs — no rings. Instead thereof, I give two hundred dollars 
to any one poor deserving widow or orphan of this town, whom 
my children shall select." 



"I appoint all my children, and the survivors or survivor of 
them, executors of this my last will and testament. I wish that 
the disposition which I have therein made of my property, may 
meet with their approbation, and the more so, as their conduct 
relative to it, has always been perfectly proper, reserved, and 
delicate. I cannot conclude this interesting act, without express- 
ing the satisfaction I have constantly derived from their virtuous 
and amiable behavior. I thank them for having largely contrib- 
uted to my happiness by their affectionate attachment and at- 
tention to me, and to each other. To the Almighty and Beneficent 
Father of us all, to His kind providence, guidance, and blessing, 
I leave and commend them." 



396 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Will of Joseph Jefferson 

Joseph Jefferson, the distinguished American comedian, died 
in 1905, in his seventy-sixth year. Aside from his reputation as 
a great actor, he was a landscape painter of considerable ability. 
His will, executed in duplicate, is dated the 27th day of October, 
1899, and is signed "Joseph Jefferson" and "J. Jefferson." To 
certain friends, he bequeaths the sum of twenty-three thousand 
dollars ($23,000), one of whom was Joseph Sefton, of Fitzroy, 
Melbourne, Australia. 

Unto his wife, Sarah Jefferson, he gives his books, pictures, 
horses, carriages and other personal property in and about his 
residence at Buzzards Bay; he also gives her his residence and 
lands constituting said estate, together with one-third of his 
bonds, stocks, mortgages and money, as well as one-half of the 
proceeds of his real estate in Louisiana, and one-third of the pro- 
ceeds of all other real estate. 

His oil paintings, painted by himself, he directed should be 
equally divided among his wife and children, in the following 
manner : "My wife shall first choose such paintings as she prefers 
to an extent equalKng her share thereof : then my eldest child 
shall make a hke selection; and my other children shall then in 
turn make their several selections." 

All the rest of his estate, real and personal, he directs shall be 
sold and equally divided among his children. The will concludes : 

"I desire that my remains shall be deposited in such burial 
plot or place as shall be selected by my family, and that my 
funeral shall be strictly private and without show or ostentation 
of any kind." 

A codicil written at "The Reefe," Palm Beach, Florida, Decem- 
ber 14th, 1904, is in the following words : 

"To my Wife and to my Executor : 

"I, Joseph Jefferson, being sound of mind, do make and au- 
thorize this document as a codicil to my last will and testament. 

"I bequeath to my faithful attendant, Carl Kettler, if in my 
employ at the time of my death, the sum of $1000.00. 

"Also I bequeath to George McQueen if in my employ at the 
time of my death, the sum of $500.00. 

"I bequeath to the Actors' Home $1000.00; to the actors and 
actresses who are inmates of said Home $500.00; to be equally 
divided between them. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 397 

"I bequeath to the Theatrical Woman's League $500.00. 

"I bequeath to the Actors' Fund $500.00. 

"To my old friend, William Winter, Sr. the sum of $500.00 and 
one of my pictures painted by myself. 

"To my friend, Honorable Grover Cleveland, my best Ken- 
tucky reel. 

" My fishing and sporting tackle to be divided between my five 
sons. 

"To my friend. Earnest Gittings of Baltimore, one of my own 
paintings to be selected by my wife. 

"J. Jefferson." 

Will op Thomas Jefferson 

Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independ- 
ence, and the third President of the United States, died on July 
4, 1826, the same day that his predecessor in office, John Adams, 
passed away. 

His will is dated the 16th day of March, 1826, and on the fol- 
lowing day a codicil of equal length was added. Both the will 
and the codicil will be found attractive and entertaining, and are 
here fully transcribed. 

" I, Thomas Jefferson, of Monticello, in Albemarle, being of 
sound mind and in my ordinary state of health, make my last 
will and testament in manner and form as follows : 

" I give to my grandson Francis Eppes, son of my dear deceased 
daughter Mary Eppes, in fee simple, all that part of my lands at 
Poplar Forest lying west of the following lines, to wit : beginning 
at Radford's upper corner near the double branches of Bear Creek 
and the public road, and running thence in a straight line to the 
fork of my private road, near the barn ; thence along that private 
road (as it was changed in 1817), to its crossing of the main branch 
of North Tomahawk Creek ; and from that crossing, in a direct 
line over the main ridge which divides the North and South 
Tomahawk, to the South Tomahawk, at the confluence of two 
branches where thje old road to the Waterlick crossed it, and from 
that confluence up the northermost branch, (which separate 
M'Daniels' and Perry's fields) to its source ; and thence by the 
shortest line to my western boundary. And having, in a former 
correspondence with my deceased son-in-law, John W. Eppes, 
contemplated laying off for him, with remainder to my grandson 



398 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Francis, a certain portion in the southern part of my lands in 
Bedford and Campbell, which I afterwards found to be generally 
more indifferent than I had supposed, and therefore determined 
to change its location for the better; now to remove all doubt, 
if any could arise on a purpose merely voluntary and unexecuted, 
I hereby declare that what I have herein given to my said grand- 
son, Francis, is instead of, and not additional to, what I had 
formerly contemplated. I subject all my other property to the 
payment of my debts in the first place. Considering the insol- 
vent state of the affairs of my friend and son-in-law, Thomas Mann 
Randolph, and that what will remain of my property will be the 
only resource against the want in which his family would other- 
wise be left, it must be his wish, as it is my duty, to guard that 
resource against all liability for his debts, engagements or purposes 
whatsoever, and to preclude the rights, powers, and authorities 
over it, which might result to him by operation of law, and which 
might, independently of his will, bring it within the power of his 
creditors, I do hereby devise and bequeath all the residue of my 
property, real and personal, in possession or in action, whether 
held in my own right, or in that of my dear deceased wife, accord- 
ing to the powers vested in me by deed of settlement for that 
purpose, to my grandson, Thomas J. Randolph, and my friends 
Nicholas P. Trist and Alexander Garrett, and their heirs, during 
the life of my said son-in-law, Thomas M. Randolph, to be held 
and administered by them, in trust, for the sole and separate use 
and behoof of my dear daughter, Martha Randolph, and her heirs ; 
and aware of the nice and difficult distinction of the law in these 
cases, I will further explain by saying, that I understand and in- 
tend the effect of these limitations to be, that the legal estate 
and actual occupation shall be vested in my said trustees, and 
held by them in base fee, determinable on the death of my said 
son-in-law, and the remainder during the same time be vested in 
my said daughter and her heirs and of course disposable by her 
last will, and that at the death of my said son-in-law the par- 
ticular estate of the trustees shall be determined, and the remainder 
in legal estate, possession, and use, become vested in my said 
daughter and her heirs, in absolute property forever. In conse- 
quence of the variety and indescribableness of the articles of 
property within the house at Monticello, and the difficulty of 
inventorying and appraising them separately and specifically, and 
its inutility, I dispense with having them inventoried and ap- 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 399 

praised ; and it is my will that my executors be not held to give 
any security for the administration of my estate. I appoint my 
grandson Thomas Jefferson Randolph, my sole executor during 
his life, and after his death, I constitute executors my friends 
Nicholas P. Trist and Alexander Garrett, joining to them my 
daughter Martha Randolph, after the death of my said son-in- 
law Thomas M. Randolph. Lastly, I revoke all former wills by 
me heretofore made ; and in witness that this is my will, I have 
written the whole with my own hand on two pages, and have 
subscribed my name to each of them this sixteenth day of March, 
one thousand eight hundred and twenty-six. 

"Thomas Jefferson." 

"I, Thomas Jefferson, of Monticello, in Albemarie, make and 
add the following codicil to my will, controlling the same so far as 
its provisions go : 

"I recommend to my daughter Martha Randolph, the main- 
tenance and care of my well beloved sister Anne Scott, and trust 
confidently that from affection to her, as well as for my sake, 
she will never let her want a comfort. I have made no specific 
provision for the comfortable maintenance of my son-in-law 
Thomas M. Randolph, because of the diflBculty and uncertainty 
of devising terms which shall vest any beneficial interest in him, 
which the law will not transfer to the benefit of his creditors, to 
the destitution of my daughter and her family, and disablement 
of her to supply him : whereas, property placed under the exclu- 
sive control of my daughter and her independent will, as if she 
were a feme sole, considering the relation in which she stands both 
to him and his children, will be a certain resource against want 
for all. 

" I give to my friend James Madison, of Montpelier, my gold- 
mounted walking staff of animal horn, as a token of the cordial 
and affectionate friendship which for nearly now an half century, 
has united us in the same principles and pursuits of what we have 
deemed for the greatest good of our country. 

" I give to the University of Virginia my library, except such 
particular books only, and of the same edition, as it may aheady 
possess, when this legacy shall take effect: the rest of my said 
library, remaining after those given to the University shall have 
been taken out, I give to my two grandsons-in-law Nicholas P. 
Trist and Joseph Coolidge. To my grandson Thomas Jefferson 



400 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Randolph, I give my silver watch in preference of the golden one, 
because of its superior excellence. My papers of business going 
of course to him, as my executor, all others of a literary or other 
character I give to him as of his own property. 

" I give a gold watch to each of my grandchildren, who shall 
not have already received one from me, to be purchased and 
delivered by my executors to my grandsons, at the age of twenty- 
one, and granddaughters at that of sixteen. 

" I give to my good, affectionate, and faithful servant Burwell, 
his freedom, and the sum of three hundred dollars, to buy neces- 
saries to commence his trade of glazier, or to use otherwise, as he 
pleases. 

" I give also to my good servants John Hemings and Joe Fosset, 
their freedom at the end of one year after my death ; and to each 
of them respectively, all the tools of their respective shops or 
callings ; and it is my will that a comfortable log-house be built 
for each of the three servants so emancipated, on some part of 
my lands convenient to them with respect to the residence of 
their wives, and to Charlottesville and the University, where they 
will be mostly employed, and reasonably convenient also to the 
interests of the proprietor of the lands, of which houses I give the 
use of one, with a curtilage of an acre to each, during his life or 
personal occupation thereof. 

" I give also to John Hemings the service of his two apprentices 
Madison and Eston Hemings, until their respective ages of twenty- 
one years, at which period respectively, I give them their freedom ; 
and I humbly and earnestly request of the legislature of Virginia 
a confirmation of the bequest of freedom to these servants, with 
permission to remain in this State, where their families and con- 
nections are, as an additional instance of the favor, of which I 
have received so many other manifestationsL in the course of my 
life, and for which I now give them my last solemn, and dutiful 
thanks. 

" In testimony that this is a codicil to my will of yesterday's 
date, and that it is to modify so far the provisions of that will, 
I have written it all with my own hand in two pages, to each of 
which I subscribe my name, this seventeenth day of March, one 
thousand eight hundred and twenty-six. 

"Thomas Jefferson." 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 401 

Will op Robebt E. Lee 

General Robert E. Lee died October 12, 1870. The follow- 
ing is a literal copy of his will, together with a schedule of his 
property : 

"I, Robert E. Lee of the U. S. Army, do make ordain & declare 
this instrument to be my last will & testament revoking all others. 

"1. All my debts, whatever they may be, & of which there 
are but few, are to be punctually, & speedily paid. 

"2. To my dearly beloved wife Mary Custia Lee I give & be- 
queath the use profit & benefit of my whole Estate real & personal, 
for the term of her natural Ufe, in full confidence that she wiU 
use it to the best advantage in the education & care of my children. 

"3. Upon the decease of my wife it is my will & desire that 
my Estate be divided among my children, in such proportions to 
each, as their situations & necessities in life may require; and 
as may be designated by her; & I particularly request that my 
second daughter Anne Carter, who from an accident she has 
reed, in one of her eyes, may be more in want of aid than the rest, 
may if necessary be particularly provided for. 

"Lastly I constitute & appoint my dearly beloved wife Mary 
Custis Lee & my eldest son George Washington Custis Lee (when 
he shall have arrived at the age of twenty one years) executrix 
& executor of this my last will & testament, in the construction 
of which I hope & trust no dispute will arise. 

"In witness of which I have set my hand & seal this thirty 
first day of August in the year one thousand eight hundred & 
forty six. "R. E. Lee." 

"SCHEDDXE OF PHOPERTT 

" 100 Shares of the Stock of the Bank of Virginia Rich- 
mond $10,000.00 

39 Shares of the Stock of the Valley of Virginia Win- 
chester 3,900.00 

$6,100. of Jas. R. & Kanawha Compy Bonds . . . 6,100.00 

$2,000. Virginia 6 per ct State Bonds 2,000.00 

$2,000. Phil : Wil : & Baltimore R. R. 6 per ct loan 2,000.00 

$2,000. Bonds of Kentucky 6 pr cts 2,000.00 

6 per cts Bonds of the State of Ohio 5,000.00 

Bond of John Lloyd & wife 3,000.00 

Bonds of Workner & Rice & of Louis Engel, St. Louis, 

Mo: 4,500.00 

1 Share of Nat : theatre, Washington City .... 250.00 

$38,750.00 



402 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Nancy & her children at the White House New Kent all of whom 
I wish liberated, so soon as it can be done to their advantage & 
that of others. An undivided third part of the tract of land in 
Floyd Va. devised to me by my mother, of which I am negotiat- 
ing a sale with M. N. Burwell for $2,500. My share of property 
in Hardy Va belonging to the estate of my father. My share of 
a claim of the property leased to the Government by my father 
at Harpers Ferry & believed to belong to his estate. My share or 
i of 200 acres of land in Fairfax Co : Va : 

"R. E. Lee." 

Will of James Lick 

James Lick was born at Fredericksburg, Lebanon Coimty, 
Pennsylvania, on August 25, 1796. He began life as an organ 
and piano maker, first at Hanover, Pennsylvania, and afterwards 
at Baltimore, Maryland. In 1820, he started business on his 
own account in Philadelphia, and shortly afterward emigrated 
to Buenos Ayres, where for ten years he successfully prosecuted 
his trade; subsequently, he moved to Valparaiso and later to 
California, where he arrived with a moderate fortune in 1847. 
He spent his remaining days in California, dying there October 1, 
1876, leaving an estate valued at about $4,000,000. He is said 
to have been of an unlovable, eccentric, solitary and avaricious 
character. Had it not been for his last will and testament, he would 
have died "unwept, unhonored, and unsung." This one act of 
his life was a contradiction of the whole. By a trust deed, which 
was to be fully effective at his death, after bequeathing a number 
of small legacies to friends and relatives, and reserving for his 
own use $25,000 per year during his life, he provided for the ex- 
penditure of $700,000 for the construction and equipment of an 
astronomical observatory for the University of California ; $25,000 
was bequeathed to the San Francisco Protestant Asylum ; $10,000 
to the California Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Ani- 
mals : he also set aside an amount equal to $20,000 for monu- 
ments to be erected to the memory of his father, mother, grand- 
father and sister; $100,000 for the founding of the Old Ladies' 
Home of San Francisco ; $150,000 for the erection and mainten- 
ance of free public baths in San Francisco ; $60,000 for the erec- 
tion of a bronze monument in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco^ 
"to the memory of Francis Scott Key, author of the song, 'The 
Star-Spangled Banner ; ' " $100,000 for a group of bronze statuary 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 403 

representing in three periods the history of California; $540,000 
for the founding and erection of a California School of Mechani- 
cal Arts : the residue of his estate, he directed should be equally 
divided between the California Academy of Sciences and the 
Society of California Pioneers. 

The observatory constitutes the astronomical department of 
the University of California, and was the most cherished of all 
Mr. Lick's schemes of public benefaction; it is claimed that he 
had nursed the idea for many years before he began to put it into 
practical shape ; he directed that the telescope should be superior 
and more powerful than any yet made, and it was such at the 
time of its erection; it is now the second largest refracting tele- 
scope in the world, being surpassed only by that of the Yerkes 
Observatory of the University of Chicago, located at Williams 
Bay, Wisconsin. The situation on Mount Hamilton is particu- 
larly advantageous, giving, as it does, an unobstructed view for 
a radius of one hundred miles, and an opportunity for observation 
during the greater part of the year, — clear nights occurring 
regularly for six or seven months out of the year. In its con- 
struction, the wishes and hopes of the testator were fully carried 
out, for, up to that time, no such instrument had ever been cast 
or attempted. 

Will of Henht Wadswoeth Longfellow 

Longfellow, probably the most popular of American poets, died 
March 24, 1882. 

Certain words were erased in his will, as indicated by the 
dashes ; the instrument follows : 

"The last will and testament of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 
of Cambridge, in the County of Middlesex and State of Massa- 
chusetts, gentleman. 

"I devise to my sister Mrs. Anna L. Pierce the sum of Five 
hundred dollars annually, during her Kfe ; and I direct my Execu- 
tor hereinafter named, to retain in his hands an amount of property 
sufficient to yield the above sum in each and every year; the 
principal to be finally distributed among my heirs at law, as here- 
inafter provided. 

"I also give the following sums as legacies to and among my 
relatives and friends. 

"Five to my brother Samuel Longfellow. the 



404 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

children of my brother Stephen Longfellow. Five Thousand 

dollars to my brother Alexander Wadsworth Longfellow. 

the children of George W. Greene of East Greenwich. Rhode 
Island. 

"The residue of my property I give to my children, in the same 
manner, as the same would have descended to them by the stat- 
utes of distribution in this Commonwealth, had I died intestate. 

"I appoint my friend Richard H. Dana, Sr., Esquire of Cam- 
bridge, Executor of this my last will and testament. 

"In witness whereof I have hereto set my hand and seal this 
twenty fifth day of May in the year eighteen hundred and sixty 
eight. 

"Henkt W. Longfellow." 

Will of Willlam McKinlet 

William McKinley died at Buffalo, New York, September 14, 
1901. His will is as follows : 

"ExEcurrvB Mansion, Washington. 

"I publish the following as my latest will and testament, hereby 
revoking all former wills. 

"To my beloved wife Ida S. McKinley I bequeathe all of my 
real estate wherever situate, and the income of any personal 
property of which I may be possessed at death, and during her 
natural life. 

"I make the following charge upon all of my property both 
real and personal. To pay my Mother during her life One thou- 
sand dollars a year, and at her death said sum to be paid to my 
sister Helen McKinley. 

"If the income from property be insufficient to keep my wife 
in great comfort, & pay the anuity above provided, then I direct 
that such of my property be sold so as to make a sum adequate 
for both purposes. Whatever property remains at the death of 
my wife I give to my brothers & sisters share & share aUke. My 
chief concern is that my wife from my estate shall have all she 
requires for her comfort & pleasure, & that my Mother shall be 
provided with whatever money she requires, to make her old age 
comfortable and happy. 

"Witness my hand and seal this 22ond day of October 1897, to 
my last will and testament made at the City of Washington Dist. 
of Columbia. 

"William McKinlet." 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 405 

Will of Dolly P. Madison 

The will of Dolly P. Madison, Washington's first social queen, 
wife of President James Madjson, is as follows : 

"In the name of God, Amen. 

"I, Dolly P. Madison, widow of the late James Madison of 
Virginia, being of sound & disposing mind and memory but 
feeble in body having in view the uncertainty of life & the rapid 
approach of death do make publish and declare the following to 
be my last will and testament : That is to say I hereby give and 
bequeath to my dear son John Payne Todd the sum of ten thou- 
sand dollars being the one half of the sum appropriated by the 
Congress of the United States for the purchase of my husbands 
papers, which sum stands invested in the names of James Bu- 
chanan, John G. Mason & Hichard Smith as trustees : 

"Secondly I give, and bequeath to my adopted daughter 
Annie Payne ten thousand dollars, the remaining half of the said 
sum of twenty thousand dollars, appropriated as aforesaid by 
Congress and standing in the names of said trustees, for her Ufe- 
time; hereby directing the said sum of ten thousand dollars to 
remain in the names of the said trustees for the use of my said 
adopted daughter for her life and that they the said trustees 
pay the interest as it becomes due on the same, to her, during her 
life. 

"And I further will & devise that should my said son John 
Payne Todd survive my said daughter that upon her death the 
sum so devised to her shall be paid over to him & his executors ; 
but in the event of my said adopted daughter Annie Payne, sur- 
viving the said John Payne Todd that the sum above devised to 
her for hfe shall be held by the said trustees for her & her execu- 
tors forever free from all condition; leaving all the rest and 
residue of my property to be administered and distributed accord- 
ing to law, 

"D. P. Madison." 

Will of James Madison 

Ex-President James Madison, fourth President of the United 
States, died on June 28, 1836. By his will, he devises unto his. 
wife, during her life, the tract of land whereon he lived; pro- 
vided that within three years after his death, she would pay th& 



406 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

sum of Nine Thousand Dollars for certain lands, but in the event 
she should not pay said sum, then the land should be sold for cash 
and divided as afterwards directed in the will. 

Unto his wife, he devises his grist-mill with the land attached 
thereto, for her use during her life, to be sold at her death, and the 
purchase money to be divided between his nephews and nieces. 

Unto his wife, he devises his house and lots in the city of Wash- 
ington. He likewise gives unto his wife, the negroes owned by him, 
with the request, however, that none of them should be sold with- 
out their consent, unless for misbehavior; except that infant 
children might be sold with their parents, who would consent for 
them. 

All his personal estate of every description, ornamental, as well 
as useful, except as otherwise bequeathed, is given to his wife, to- 
gether with all manuscript papers, with the statement that the 
testator has entire confidence in her discreet and proper use of 
them. 

He suggests that the report made by him of the Convention at 
Philadelphia in 1787, would be particularly gratifying to the 
people of the United States and to all who take an interest in the 
progress of pohtical science and the cause of true liberty. This 
report he desires to be published under the authority of his wife 
and by her direction ; the proceeds to be paid out as follows : 
Two Thousand Dollars to Mr. Gurley, Secretary of the Coloniza- 
tion Society; Fifteen Hundred Dollars to the University of Vir- 
ginia; One Thousand Dollars to the College of Nassau Hall at 
Princeton, New Jersey ; and One Thousand Dollars to the College 
of Uniontown, Pennsylvania, for the benefit of their respective 
libraries. This fund is also to embrace a trust created for the 
education of the sons of two deceased nephews, Robert S. Madison 
and Ambrose Madison. 

Unto the University of Virginia, the testator gives all that por- 
tion of his library which is not possessed by the University and 
which the board of visitors might deem worthy of a place therein, 
reserving, however, to his wife, the right to select such books and 
pamphlets as she should choose, not exceeding three hundred 
volumes. 

To his brother-in-law, John C. Payne, he devises two hundred 
and forty acres of land on which the said John C. Payne was living. 

Unto his stepson, John Payne Todd, he gives the case of medals 
presented by George W. Erving, and the walking staff made from 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 407 

a timber of the frigate. Constitution, which was presented to the 
testator by Commodore Elliot, her commander. 

His mounted walking staff, bequeathed to the testator by- 
Thomas Jefferson, he directs shall be delivered to Thomas J. Ran- 
dolph. 

There is a codicil to this will, wherein the testator directs that 
the proceeds of the sale of the grist-mill, upon the death of his 
wife, shall be paid to the American Colonization Society. The 
codicil is written with the hand of the testator. 

Will op Chief Justice Mabshall 

The will of the great expounder of the Constitution of the 
United States is on file in Richmond, Virginia. Included in its 
provisions is the forest home of Lord Fairfax, Greenway Court, 
that George Washington surveyed, and where he was frequently 
a guest. The Chief Justice bought a portion of this land, and 
received the rest as a fee for arranging the disputed questions 
between the State of Virginia and the heirs of Lord Fairfax. 

The will is dated April 9, 1832, and has five codicils, the last 
written a short time before his death. The will begins : 

"I, John Marshall, do make this my last will and testament 
entirely in my own handwriting this ninth day of April, 1832. 
I owe nothing on my own account." 

He mentions a suit for some property he had purchased, and 
some paper he was on, as surety for a friend. The suit mentioned 
in the will was one that was not settled until forty years after his 
decease, and his heirs were so numerous at that time that each 
received only eleven dollars out of a considerable sum. 

The estate is divided equally between an only daughter and five 
sons, the wife having predeceased him. The share of the daughter 
is left in trust, and the testator states that common prudence 
dictates that a daughter should be protected from distress what- 
ever casualties might happen. 

His great affection for his wife is evidenced throughout the 
instrument. In carrying out some of her wishes, he spoke of her 
as one "whose sainted spirit has fled from the sufferings inflicted 
on her in this life." He also requests his daughter to remember 
that the departed wife "was the most affectionate of mothers." 
Accompanying the will was a beautiful eulogy to his wife, which 
he had written on the first anniversary of her death. 



408 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

To each of his grandsons named John he gave one thousand 
acres of land. 

The will concludes with the statement that, having prior to 
that time appointed his sons and son-in-law executors, but fearing 
so many executors would produce confusion in the management 
of the estate, he selected for this duty only one, namely, James 
Keith Marshall, directing that no surety be required of him as 
such, and allowing him a thousand dollars for his care and pains. 

The favorite servant Robin it was directed should be emanci- 
pated, and if he desired to go to Liberia, he was to have a hundred 
dollars for that purpose. If he did not go, he was to receive fifty 
dollars. If under the law he could not be consistently emanci- 
pated, then he was to choose his own master among the sons, or, 
if he preferred, the daughter of the testator. 

Will of James Monroe 

James Monroe died July 4, 1831. His will, dated the sixteenth 
day of May, 1831, is in part as follows : 

"Having given my estate called Ashfield to my daughter Eliza- 
beth, which estate cost me about six thousand dollars, it is my 
will and intention to pay my daughter Maria that sum, to put 
them on an equality in the first instance; and then divide my 
property remaining after paying my just debts equally between 
them, my said daughters; with respect to the works in which I 
am engaged and leave behind, I commit the care and publication 
of them to my son in law Samuel L. Gouvernieur, giving to him one 
third of the profits arising therefrom for his trouble in preparing 
them for publication, one third to my daughter Maria and one 
third to my daughter Elizabeth. 

"I appoint and constitute my son in law Samuel L. Gouver- 
nieur my sole and exclusive executor of this my last will and testa- 
ment, hereby revoking all others, giving him full powers to carry 
it into effect. I recommend my daughter E. K. Hay to the fra- 
ternal care and protection of my son in law Samuel L. Gouver- 
nieur. 

"James Monkoe." 

A codicil to the will is as follows : 

"My very infirm and weak state of health, having rendered it 
altogether impossible for me to manage my own concerns in any 
one circumstance, I have committed them to Mr. Gouvernieur, 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 409 

in whose integrity I have perfect confidence. This has been 
extended to the grant lately made me by Congress, which I have 
authorized him, to enter and dispose of, in his own name, well 
knowing that he will apply it in that way, with more advantage 
than if entered in mine — I mention this, as a particular & inter- 
esting example, with which I wish my family, as well as he and 
myself to be acquainted. The whole will be under the operation 
after my departure of my present testament. He will, of course, 
pay particular attention to my other debts, as well as to that 
which I owe to himself, and I fiu:ther request Captain James 
Monroe & William M. Price, to adjust and settle my account 
between Mr. Gouvemieur & myself — this request having been 
made at his suggestion. Signed sealed published and declared in 

the presence of this seventeenth day of June in the year 

of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty one. 

"James Monroe." 

Will op Gouveeneuk Morris 

Gouverneur Morris, the celebrated orator and statesman of 
New York, died in 1816. He had great affection for his wife, 
whom he married late in life. This lady was Miss Ann Randolph, 
a cousin of John Randolph of Roanoke, and was much younger 
than himself ; their married life was one of great happiness. He 
bequeathed to her a very handsome income and then provided 
that in case she remarried the income should be doubled. It 
must be noted that such cases are rare. 

It was Gouverneur Morris who delivered funeral orations on 
Washington, Hamilton and Clinton, and these addresses are 
masterpieces in composition and literary finish. 

Will of George Peabodt 

George Peabody died in London, November 4, 1869. He was 
born in the parish of Danvers, Massachusetts, in 1795 : twice 
during the War of 1812 he was a volunteer in defence of the United 
States. 

He established the house of Peabody & Company in London, 
and died there, but ever maintained the liveliest interest in his 
native land ; he remained unmarried ; during his lifetime, he gave 
away nearly ten millions of dollars, largely for the betterment of 
society ; the objects of his boimty are too well known to be stated ; 



410 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

the most influential during his life being three millions for the 
promotion of education in the Southern States, and three millions 
to erect model tenements for the poor of London. 

When he died, the Queen attended his funeral in person, accom- 
panied by the Royal Guard, and ordered that his body be placed 
in Westminster Abbey; Gladstone was one of his pall-bearers; 
by his will, however, he had directed that his body should rest in 
Harmony Grove in his native village, by the side of his father and 
mother and in a spot known to his boyish feet. The body was 
removed from the Abbey and placed on board the British man- 
of-war. Monarch, in the presence of the Prime Minister, the 
Secretary of Foreign Affairs and many distinguished citizens ; the 
Monarch was convoyed to America by a French and an Ameri- 
can man-of-war. 

The Rev. Newman Hall said, in his funeral oration: "George 
Peabody waged a war against want and woe. He created homes 
— he never desolated one. He sided with the friendless, the 
houseless, and his life was guided by a law of love which none 
could ever wish to repeal. His was the task of cementing the 
hearts of Briton and American, pointing both to their duty to 
God and to Humankind." 

The philanthropy of Peabody was not in secret, or posthumous ; 
he did not clutch his treasures until death should release the 
grasp ; he parted with his millions in his lifetime. Mr. Moody, 
the Evangelist, relates this incident: 

"I was a guest of John Garrett once, and he told me that his 
father used to entertain George Peabody and Johns Hopkins. 
Peabody went to England, and Hopkins stayed in Baltimore. 
They both became immensely wealthy; Garrett tried to get 
Hopkins to make his will, but he wouldn't. Finally, Garrett 
invited both to dinner and afterward asked Peabody which he 
enjoyed most, the making of money or giving it away. Hopkins 
cocked up his ears, and then Peabody told him that he had a 
struggle at first, and it lasted until he went into his model London 
houses, and saw the little children so happy. 'Then,' said Pea- 
body, 'I began to find out it was pleasanter to give money away 
than it was to make it.' Forty-eight hours later Hopkins was 
making out his will, founding the University and Hospital which 
bear his name." 



ANCIENT, CXJRIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 411 

Will op James K. Polk 

Mr. Polk had held distinguished positions in the State of Ten- 
nessee, but he was in no sense a national figure at the time of his 
nomination by the Democratic party. His will was written with 
his own hand at the Executive Mansion in Washington, at a time 
■when he was President of the United States ; he was a lawyer of 
recognized ability, and his will was witnessed by one who had been 
Ms law partner, but who was then a senator of the United States. 
It was evidently the result of much careful deliberation on his 
part. He died at Nashville on June 15, 1849, comparatively a 
young man, not long after quitting the office of President of the 
United States. His widow continued to reside on the Polk place 
in the City of Nashville, and she survived him some forty years. 
This venerable lady became one of the most unique social char- 
acters in America. An annual pension of five thousand dollars 
voted by Congress, maintained her in a position of ease and com- 
fort, if not of retired elegance. The legislature of Tennessee, at 
every one of its sessions, adjourned and paid a ceremonial visit to 
her at her residence. 

The life estate in the home place, which was devised to her by 
the will of her husband, terminated at her death, some years ago. 

President Polk had seven brothers and sisters now dead, but all 
of whom left numerous children. Many of them joined together 
in a chancery suit to set aside his will on the ground that it was 
void as being contrary to the provision of the constitution of the 
State of Tennessee against perpetuities. It has been suggested 
that the meanness of these persons was extreme, as the estate was 
not large, and their action served to upset Mr. Polk's attempt to 
perpetuate his memory. The court did set aside the will. 

The heirs claimed that the State of Tennessee had no power to 
accept the trust; that the trust was too vague and uncertain; 
that it created a perpetuity ; that it established a house of nobility, 
and secured through the instrumentality of the State, a succession 
to persons related in blood, priAaleges and honors inconsistent with 
the laws of the State. The State of Tennessee affirmed that the 
main object of the testator was to set aside a small lot of land for a 
tomb for himself and his wife, and that the other matters devised 
were but incidents. 

It was the desire of Polk that his homestead should never pass 
into the hands of strangers, and also that the most worthy of his 



412 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

name and blood might occupy it from generation to generation. 
The will also provided that the tomb should be kept in repair 
forever by the tenant, as a small return for the privilege of being 
permitted to occupy the home. 

Will of Geobge M. Pullman 

George M. Pullman, of Pullman Palace Car fame, died October 
19, 1897. The will opens with the statement that his wife is not 
appointed executrix or trustee, because the testator wishes to 
relieve her of the labors, cares and responsibilities of these posi- 
tions. Certain friends are appointed executors of the will. 

He directs his executors to set aside certain securities of great 
value, which he gives to a trustee, and directs the income there- 
from to be paid to his wife during her life, and upon her death, 
the principal becomes a part of the residuary estate. A similar 
provision is made for his daughters. Upon the death of the 
daughters, however, leaving issue, the property held in trust shall 
become absolutely the property of such issue in equal shares. 
Upon the death of either daughter, leaving no issue, but leaving 
a husband, one-half of the property then held in trust for such 
daughter shall become absolutely the property of such husband, 
and the other half shall pass into the residuary estate, as shall 
all property so held in trust for either daughter dying without 
having issue or husband. 

The eighth item of the will reads as follows : 

"Inasmuch as neither of my sons has developed such a sense of 
responsibihty as in my judgment is requisite for the wise use of 
large properties and considerable sums of money, I am painfully 
compelled, as I have explicitly stated to them, to limit my testa- 
mentary provisions for their benefit to trusts producing only such 
income as I deem reasonable for their support." Accordingly he 
established trusts for their benefit suflScient in the judgment of his 
executors to yield a fixed income for each with capital over to 
their issue. 

Out of the remainder of his estate, after satisfying the provisions 
mentioned, the testator provides for his brothers and sisters by 
pecuniary legacies or trust provisions. In like manner, he also 
provides for other relatives, friends and employees, including house- 
hold servants. A number of charitable corporations are also 
given legacies. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 413 

To a daughter, he gives an island in the St. Lawrence River, 
one of "The Thousand Islands," on which the testator had erected 
an edifice known as "Castle Rest," which was intended for a 
summer home for his mother, and which was used by her as such 
until the time of her death. This island and the castle, with all 
its appurtenances, furniture and pictures, is given to the daughter, 
as stated. The will then recites: 

"It is my special wish that my said daughter shall each year 
keep open said island and Castle Rest from not later than the 
26th day of July, which was my father's birthday, until after the 
14th day of August, which was my mother's birthday, for the 
accommodation and enjoyment of all the descendants of my parents 
who may wish to visit and remain at said Castle Rest for the period 
during which it is so opened, or for any shorter time within said 
period." 

The power is given the daughter to dispose of this property by 
her last will and testament, and if this right is not exercised, the 
property is to pass to her issue in equal shares. 

Full power is given the executors to sell or dispose of the estate 
at their discretion. He directs that if any residue of the estate 
remain after the devises, trusts and legacies specifically set forth, 
have been satisfied, that such excess be divided into two equal 
shares and held as a trust fund for his daughters. 

Will of John Randolph 

John Randolph — of Roanoke, as he styled himself — was born 
at Cawsons, near the mouth of the Appomattox River, on the 
3rd of June, 1773. He died of consumption at Philadelphia on 
the 24th of June, 1833, at the age of sixty years. 

He was one of the most remarkable characters that this coun- 
try has ever produced. As is well known, he was noted both for 
his brilliancy and his eccentricity; he was repeatedly elected to 
Congress, served a short time as Minister to Russia, and was also 
a United States senator. 

After his death, it was ascertained that he had left several wills : 
one was written in 1819; another, without date, though written 
in 1821, had four codicils, and still another was dated the first day 
of January, 1832. The first will was not admitted to probate; 
the last one was set aside, because he was not considered of sound 
mind at the time he wrote it. The will of 1821, however, after 
a long contest, was finally upheld ; by this instrument, he freed 



414 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

over three hundred slaves. This will and the four codicils are 
here given literally. 

"In the name of God, Amen. 

"I, John Randolph, of Roanoke, do ordain this my last will 
and testament, hereby revoking all other wills whatsoever. 

"1. I give and bequeath all my slaves their freedom, heartily 
regretting that I have ever been the owner of one. 

"2. I give to my ex'or a sum not exceeding eight thousand 
dollars, or so much thereof as may be necessary to transport and 
settle said slaves to and in some other State or territory of the 
U.S., giving to all above the age of forty not less than ten acres 
of land each. 

"To my old and faithful servants, Essex and his wife Hetty, 
who, I trust, may be suffered to remain in the State, I give and 
bequeath three-and-a-half barrels of corn, two hundred weight of 
pork, a pair of strong shoes, a suit of clothes, and a blanket each, 
to be paid them annually ; also, an annual hat to Essex, and ten 
pounds of coffee and twenty of brown sugar. 

"To my woman servant Nancy, the like allowance as to her 
mother. To Juba (alias Jupiter) the same ; to Queen the same ; 
to Johnny, my body servant, the same, during their respective lives. 

"I confirm to my brother, Beverly, the slaves I gave him, and 
for which I have a reconveyance. 

"I bequeath to John Randolph Clay four hundred dollars 
annually to complete his education, until he shall have arrived at 
the age of twenty-four years, earnestly exhorting him never to 
eat the bread of idleness or dependence. 

"I bequeath to my namesake, John Randolph Bryan, my gold 
watch, chain and seals, and the choice of my horses. 

"I bequeath to his brother, Thomas, the choice of two of my 
horses. 

" To William Leigh, of Halifax, I bequeath to him and his heirs 
forever all the land on which I Kve, lying between the Owen's 
ferry road and Carrington's, Cooke's, Lipscomb's and Morton's 
lines. Also, the books, plate, linen, household and kitchen fur- 
niture, liquors, stock, tools, and everything as it now stands, 
hereby appointing him my sole executor. And I do desire that he 
may not be required to give security, or to make any inventory 
of anything here; that is, at my mansion-house or the middle- 
quarter." 

[Cut out in the original.] 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 415 

" B. Dudley, all the interest I have under the wUl of Mrs. 
Martha Corran. 

"My interest, under the will of Mrs. Judith Randolph, I desire 
my executor to sell if he shall see fit, but not otherwise. 

"The land above the Owen's ferry road and the lower quarter, 
and the land I bought of the Reads, to be sold at my said execu- 
tor's discretion, and whatever m[cut out in the originaljy debts 
I give and bequeath to Francis Scott Key and the' Rev. Wm. 
Meade, to be disposed of towards bettering the condition of my 
manumitted slaves. 

"I have not included my mother's descendants in my will, 
because her husband, besides the whole profits of my father's 
estate during the minority of my brother and myself, has contrived 
to get to himself the slaves given by my grandfather Bland, as her 
marriage portion when my father married her, which slaves were 
inventoried at my father's death as part of his estate, and were 
as much his as any that he had. One-half of them, now scattered 
from Maryland to Mississippi, were entitled to freedom at my 
brother Richard's death, as the other would have been at mine. 

"Witness my hand and seal." 

The name [cut out in the original]. (Seal.) 

"In the presence of 

"RicHAED Randolph, Jk." 

"Codicil to this my will, made the 5th day of December, 1821. 
I revoke the bequest to T. B. Dudley, and bequeath the same to 
my executor, to whom also I give in fee simple all my lots and 
houses in Farmville, and every other species of property whatever 
that I die possessed of, saving the aforesaid specifications in my will." 

[The name cut out of the original.] 

" Amelia County. 

"The reason of the above revocation I have commimicated to 
Wm. J. Barksdale, Esq." 

The codicil of 1826. 

"In the name of God, Amen. I, John Randolph, of Roanoke, 
being of sound mind and memory, but of infirm health, do ordain 
this codicil to my last will and testament, now in the possession of 
Wm. Leigh, Esquire, of Halifax county, Virginia, executor thereof, 
which said appointment I do hereby confirm, with all the bequests 
made to him therein, and bequests to or for the benefit of all, 
each and every of my slaves, whether by name or otherwise, and 
all bequests to him and them which may be contained in my 



416 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

codicil to my last will. I make the same provision for my body 
servant John that I made in my will for his father Essex, and the 
same provision for the said John's wife Betsy that I made for 
Hetty, the wife of Essex aforesaid, and similar provision for my 
man servant Juba, and his wife Celia, and the same for mulatto 
Nancy at the Lower Quarter, Archer's wife. And I humbly re- 
quest the General Assembly (the only request that I ever preferred 
to them) to let the above named, and such other of my old and 
faithful slaves as desire it, to remain in Virginia, recommending 
them, each and all, to the care of my said ex'or, who I know is 
too wise, just and humane, to send them to Liberia, or any other 
place in Africa, or the West Indies. 

"I revoke all and every bequest in my said will, or in any former 
codicil thereto (except as aforesaid, to my executor Wm. Leigh, 
and my slaves, whether by name or otherwise), of every descrip- 
tion whatsoever, whether of my own proper estate or in expectancy 
or reversion from the Bland and Bizaree estate, or from any other 
contingency or source whatsoever. These reversions or remainders, 
or executor's devises, or whatsoever the law chooses to call them, 
I bequeath to my said executor, as a fund to be used at his discre- 
tion for the benefit of my slaves aforesaid, the surplus, if any, to 
be his own. 

"I also give and bequeath to the said Wm. Leigh, my executor, 
the land that I bought of Pleasant Lipscomb's estate, to him and 
his heirs forever. 

"I also give and bequeath to my said executor and his heirs 
forever the lot of fifty-three acres of land lying at the deep gut on 
Staunton river, in Halifax county, that I bought of Wm. Sims 
Daniel, and I request my said executor not to sell or lease the 
same, but to work it in three shifts, and to enable him to do so, 
I give and bequeath to him the lot of one hundred and seventy- 
five acres of land in Halifax county, which I also bought of Wm. 
Sims Daniel, to have and to hold during his natural life, and at 
his decease to that one of his children to whom he shall bequeath 
the aforesaid lot of fifty-three acres at the deep gut. 

"I give and bequeath to my friend, Thomas H. Benton, all that 
part of the tract of land that I bought of Jonathan Read's heirs, 
that lies on the south-eastern side of Little Roanoke, containing 
about six hundred acres, as a mark of my regard to one whose 
friendship toward me was not expressed merely in words. I also 
give him my large pistols, made by Woydon & Burton. 



ANCffiNT, CIIRIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 417 

"To my friend. Doctor John Brokenbough, I leave all my 
plate made by Rundle, Bridge & Rundle, viz. : 1 tea pot, one coffee 
pot, 1 sugar dish and tongs, two tureens, 4 sauce dishes. All the 
rest and residue of my plate, furniture of every sort, plantation 
utensils, &c., I give to my said executor, Wm. Leigh, and all my 
books, maps, charts, pictures, prints, and &c., except three folio 
manuscript volumes, bound in parchment, which I bequeath to 
the master and fellows (and their successors) of Trinity College, 
Cambridge, Old England, the first college of the first Utiiversity 
of the world. 

"To my friend Wm. J. Barksdale, of Haw Branch, Esquire, 
I bequeath my new English saddle and bridle, my silver spurs, 
my new English boots, and shoes, two pair each, my gold watch 
made by Baiwese, with the chain and seals, except the oldest seal 
with the Randolph arms and motto nil admirari, which I leave 
to R. Kidder Randolph, of Rhode Island. 

"I also leave to the said W. J. Barksdale the choice of any of 
my mares or fillies. 

"I leave to Edmond Irby, of Nottoway, the next choice of my 
mares or fillies, and any one of my horses or colts, to be selected 
by himself; also, my double barrel gun. 

"To Peyton Randolph, of Buck river. Prince Edward, I leave 
my small cockney gun by Mortimer. 

"All the rest and residue of my estate, real or personal, I leave 
to my executor, Wm. Leigh, hereby directing that no inventory 
or appraisement be made of my estate, and that no security shall 
be required of my said executor for the faithful discharge of the 
trust reposed in him — his own character being the best security, 
and where that is wanting, all other is unavailing. 

"In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed 
my seal (the following interlineation and expungings being first 
made; in the second paragraph the word 'Essex' interlined; 
in the third paragraph the word 'former' interUned, and the 
word 'or' expunged; and in the 7th paragraph the words "and 
tongs' interlined) this thirty-first day of January, one thousand 
eight hundred and twenty-six (the whole of this codicil being writ- 
ten in my own hand). 

"John Randolph, of Roanoke, (Seal). 

"In presence of 

" M. Alexander, 
" Nath. Macon. 



418 ANCIENT, CUEIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

"Memorandum. — The folio volumes of Ms. bound in parch- 
ment, containing the records, &c., of the old London company." 
The Codicil of 1828. 

"Being in great extremity, but in my perfect senses, I write this 
codicil to my will in the possession of my friend Wm. Leigh, of 
Halifax county. Esquire, to declare that will is my sole last will 
and testament, and that if any other be found of subsequent date 
whether will or codicil, I do hereby revoke the same. 
"Witness my hand and seal. 

"John Randolph, of Roanoke, (Seal.) 
"May 6, 1828. 
" Witness, 

"Edmund Morgan, 
"Jo. M. Daniel, 
"Robert Carrington. 

"N.B. — When I was about to embark for Europe, in 1822, 
I did write a codicil on board the steamboat that was carrying me 
to the packet ship Amity, which codicil by my direction, Mr. 
Leigh destroyed. 

"Since writing the above, it has occurred to me that the will 
referred to, as being in Mr. Leigh's possession, makes no dis- 
position of the land that I purchased of Walter Coles and Letty 
his wife ; also the land I bought of . . . Daniel, consisting of two 
small tracts in Halifax; also, of the land purchased of Pleasant 
Lipscomb's heirs. Now this writing witnesseth, that I give and 
bequeath the whole of the above recited lands, purchased since the 
date of my will aforesaid, to William Leigh, Esquire, my faithful 
friend, who has given me aid and comfort, not with words only, 
but by deeds. 

"I also give and bequeath to him and his heirs forever, not each 
and every of the aforesaid tracts of land, but all the property of 
every description and kind whatsoever that I may have acquired 
since the date of that will aforesaid. 

"Witness my hand and seal this same sixth day of May, 1828. 
"John Randolph, of Roanoke, (Seal.) 
"Edmund Morgan, 
"Jo. M. Daniel, 
"RoBT. Carrington. 

"In the will above recited, I give to my said ex'or, Wm. Leigh, 
the refusal of the land above Owen's (now Clark's) ferry road, 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 419 

at a price that I then thought very moderate, but which a change 
in the times has rendered too high to answer my friendly inten- 
tions towards my said executor in giving him that refusal. I do, 
therefore, so far, but so far only, modify my said will as to reduce 
that price 50 per cent. ; in other words, one-half, at which he may 
take all the land above the ferry road that I inherited from my 
father, all that I bought of the late John Daniel, deceased, and of 
Tom Beaseley, Charles Beaseley, and others of that name and 
family, this last being the land that Gabriel Beaseley used to have 
in possession, and whereon Beverly Tucker lived, and which I hold 
by deed from him and his wife, of record in Charlotte county court. 

"Witness my hand and seal day and year aforesaid. 

"John Randolph, of Roanoke, (Seal.) 
(The words 'but so far only,' and the word 'from ' in the 
preceding page, first interlined.) 
"Witness, 
"Edmund Morgan, 
"Jo. M. Daniel, 
"RoBT. Caerington." 

"As lawyers and courts of law are extremely addicted to making 
wills for dead men, which they never made when living, it is my 
will and desire that no person who shall set aside, or attempt to 
set aside, the will above referred to, shall ever inherit, possess, or 
enjoy any part of my estate, real or personal. 

« rp y "John Randolph, of Roanoke, (Seal.) 

"RoBT. Carrington, 
"Edmund Morgan, 
"Jo. M. Daniel." 
Codicil of 1831. 

"On the eve of embarking for the U.S., considering my very 
feeble health, to say nothing of the dangers of the seas, I add 
this codicil to my last will and testament and the codicils thereto, 
aflSrming them all, except so far as they may be inconsistent with 
the following disposition of my estate : 

"1. It is my will and desire that my dear niece, Elizabeth 
Tucker Bryan, shall have my lower quarter, with the lands pur- 
chased of Coles and wife and of Allen Gilliam's estate, with the mill ; 
and I do hereby bequeath the same to her and her heirs forever.. 

"2. To my brother, Henry St. George Tucker, I give andi 



420 ANCIENT, CURIOUS. AND FAMOUS WILLS 

bequeath all my Bushy Forrest estate, on both sides of Little 
Roanoke, bought of the Reads, and all my interest in the estate 
of Mrs. Martha Corran, and my lots and houses in Farmville. 

"3. I have upwards of two thousand pounds sterling in the 
hands of Barring Brothers & Co., of London, and upwards of one 
thousand pounds of like money in the hands of Gowane Marx; 
this money I leave to my ex'r, Wm. Leigh, as a fund for carrying 
into execution my will respecting my slaves. And in addition to 
the provision which I have made for my faithful servant John, 
sometimes called John White, I charge my whole estate with an 
annuity to him during his life of fifty dollars; and, as the only 
favor that I ever asked of any government, I do entreat the As- 
sembly of Virginia to permit the said John and his family to re- 
main in Virginia ; and I do earnestly recommend him and them to 
my executor aforesaid and to my dear brother and niece aforesaid. 

"4. My plate and library I leave to my dear niece, E. T. Bryan. 

"Witness my hand, in Warwick street, Charing Cross, London, 
this twenty-ninth day of August, one thousand eight hundred 
and thirty-two, to which I have also appended my seal. 

"John Randolph, of Roanoke, (L. S.)" 

[Endorsement on the envelope,] 

" J. R., of R. 

In case of accident, to be sent to the U.S." 

Will of Paul Revere 

"Listen, my children, and you shall hear 
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere." 

Paul Revere died May 10, 1818; his will is dated the 15th day 
of November, 1816, and a codicil, the 14th day of March, 1818. 

"In the name of God, Amen. I, Paul Revere of Boston in the 
County of Suffolk and Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Esquire, 
being in good health and of sound memory, but knowing that all 
men must die, do make and declare this to be my last will and 
testament." 

The payment of his just debts is directed, and the executor is to 
sell the real estate, if the personal property is not sufficient for that 
purpose. 

"Item. I give, bequeath and devise unto my five children here- 
after named, Mary Lincoln, wife of Jedediah Lincoln, Joseph 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 421 

Warren Revere, John Revere, Harriet Revere, Marie, wife of 
Joseph Balestier, each and every of them four thousand dollars." 

Item. Unto each of certain grandchildren, eighteen in number, 
the children of his deceased daughters, Deborah, Frances and 
Elizabeth, and a deceased son, Paul, he gives the sum of five 
hundred dollars. 

"Item. It is my will that my grandson Frank (who now writes 
his name Francis) Lincoln, eldest son of my late daughter Deborah, 
shall have no part of my estate, except one dollar, which is here 
bequeathed to him." 

Item. He desired that Joseph Warren Revere, his son, should be 
appointed guardian of the children of his deceased daughters, who 
should be under age at the time of the division of his estate. 
Joseph Warren, who had been of great assistance to his father in 
bringing the "copper business to the state in which it now is," is 
given the right to take, at a certain valuation, " all my real estate in 
the town of Canton, and County of Norfolk, whether lands, houses, 
mills, furnaces, together with the tools and instruments thereunto 
belonging, with all my stock, manufactured and unmanufactiu'ed, 
in Canton, Boston, or elsewhere." 

Item. A preference of five hundred dollars over other heirs is 
given his grandson, Frederick Walker Lincoln, and to Joseph 
Eayres, another grandson, a preference of two hundred and fifty 
dollars. 

Item. Unto his daughter, Harriet, should she be unmarried at 
the time of his death, he gives and bequeaths all household furni- 
ture for her sole use forever. 

Item. John Revere, his son, was appointed sole executor. 

"Item. I give the residue of my estate, real and personal, if 
any remain, after the payment of my debts and the legacies herein 
given, to my son, Joseph Warren, and his heirs forever." All 
former wills were revoked. 

By a codicil, the amount given Mary Lincoln, Harriet Revere, 
and Marie Balestier, twelve thousand dollars, is annulled, and that 
sum is given in trust to his son, Joseph W. Revere, for the benefit 
of said daughters, the interest to be paid them during their natural 
lives, and after their deaths, respectively, the said fund is to be 
paid to their heirs (if the beneficiaries had not disposed of the same 
by will). 



422 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Will of Russell Sage 

Russell Sage died July 21, 1906. His will is a clear, concise 
and pointed document, and might well serve as a model of its kind. 
Under it, safely passed one of the largest fortunes ever accumu- 
lated in the United States. It reads : 

"I, Russell Sage, of the City and State of New York, do hereby 
make, publish and declare this my last Will and Testament, in 
manner and form following : 

"First: I direct that all my just debts and funeral expenses be 
paid as soon after my decease as conveniently can be done. 

"Second: I give and bequeath to my sister, Fanny Chapin, 
wife of Samuel Chapin, of Oneida, New York, should she survive 
me, the sum of Ten thousand ($10,000) dollars. 

" Third : I give and bequeath to each and every of my nephews 
and nieces of my own blood me surviving, the sum of Twenty five 
thousand ($25,000) dollars; and in the event that any of such 
nephews or nieces shall have died before me, leaving lawful issue 
him or her surviving, then I give and bequeath a like sum of 
Twenty five thousand ($25,000) dollars to the siu-viving lawful 
issue of each nephew or niece so dying before me, the same to 
be distributed among such issue share and share aUke, per stirpes 
and not per capita. 

"Fourth: All the rest, residue, and remainder of my estate, real, 
personal and mixed, wheresoever situate, of which I may die 
seized or possessed, or to which I may be entitled at the time of 
my decease, I give, devise and bequeath to my wife, Margaret 
Olivia Sage, to have and to hold the same to her, absolutely and 
forever. 

" Fifth : This provision for my wife is to be in lieu of all right of 
dower in my estate. 

"Sixth: I authorize and empower my executors hereinafter 
named, and the survivors and survivor of them, to sell and dispose 
of all or any of the real estate of which I shall die seized or possessed, 
at public or private sale, at such times and on such terms and condi- 
tions as they, the survivors or survivor of them shall deem meet 
or proper, and to execute, acknowledge and deliver all proper 
writings, deeds of conveyance and transfers therefor. 

" Seventh : Should any of the gifts and bequests made by me in 
the second and third paragraphs of this my will lapse or fail for any 
reason, I direct that the bequests so lapsing or failing shall go to 
and form part of my residuary estate, and be disposed of under 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 423 

and in accordance with the provisions of the fourth paragraph of 
this my will. 

"Eighth: I nominate, constitute and appoint my wife, Margaret 
Olivia Sage ; Dr. John P. Munn, of the City of New York ; Almon 
Goodwin of said City, and Charles W. Osborne long my confiden- 
tial and trusted assistant, the survivors and survivor of them, 
executrix and executors of this my last Will and Testament. 

"In the event of the death, refusal or inability to act of said 
Charles W. Osborne, I hereby nominate and appoint Edward C. 
Osborne, also for some years past in my employment, as Executor 
in his place and stead. I further direct that none of the persons 
above named as executors shall be required to give any bond or 
security for the proper discharge of their duties. 

"Ninth: I hereby authorize and direct my said executors to rent 
a suitable office for the transaction of the business of my estate, 
and to employ and pay out of the funds of my estate all the clerks 
and bookkeepers that may be necessary for the proper care and 
management thereof. 

" Tenth : I hereby revoke all foi"mer or other wills and testamen- 
tary dispositions by me at any time heretofore made. 

"Eleventh: Should any of the beneficiaries under this my will, 
other than my said wife, object to the probate thereof, or in any 
wise, directly or indirectly, contest or aid in contesting the same, 
OP any of the provisions thereof, or the distribution of my estate 
thereunder, then and in that event I annul any bequest herein 
made to such beneficiary, and it is my will that such beneficiary 
shall be absolutely barred and cut off from any share in my estate. 

"In witness whereof I have hereunto subscribed my name and 
affixed my seal at No. 2 Wall Street, New York City, Borough of 
Manhattan, this eleventh day of February, 1901, in the presence 
of Edward Townsend and Richard W. Freedman, whom I have 
requested to become attesting witnesses hereto. 

"Russell Sage. (Seal.) 

"The foregoing instrument was subscribed, sealed, pubUshed and 
declared by Russell Sage as and for his last Will and Testament, in 
our presence and in the presence of each of us, and we, at the same 
time, at his request, in his presence and in the presence of each 
other, hereunto subscribe our names and residences as attesting 
witnesses this 11th day of February, 1901. 

"Edward Townsend, 130 West 121st St., New York. 

"R. W. Fbeedman, 32 West 123rd St., N. Y. City." 



424 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Will of John Sherman 

John Sherman died Oct. 22, 1900. His will is as follows: 

"Impressed with the uncertainty of human life I, John Sherman 
now a Senator of the United States and from the State of Ohio 
and a Citizen of Mansfield, do make and declare and publish this 
as my last will and testament. 

"Article One. As the property I own has been mainly ac- 
quired since my marriage with Cecilia Stewart Sherman and my 
highest obligation is to her, I wish to secure her an ample provi- 
sion during her life with reasonable means of bequest at her death ; 
Therefore I hereby give, devise and bequeath to her as follows : 

"First. All my furniture, books, clothing, chattels and live 
stock and carriages wherever they may be at my Death (except 
such Books and papers as may be herein otherwise disposed of) 
to have and to hold in her own right without inventory and with 
power to dispose of as she deems proper. 

"Second. I give and devise to her in fee simple all that part of 
the South east quarter of section Twenty (20) in Madison Town- 
ship, Richland County, Ohio: Known as the Stewart farm and 
not disposed of at my death, my interest being three parts thereof 
and her interest by inheritance being one fourth, this is to include 
all sums due or accruing at the time of my death on contracts for 
the sale of any part of said farm. » 

"Third. I give and devise to her for and during her natural life, 
and for one year after her Death the use and occupation of my resi- 
dence in Mansfield, Ohio, including all the lands and lots I now 
own, or may hereafter acquire, lying between West Market and 
Fourth Streets and Penn Avenue and Sycamore Street. And I give 
and devise to her for and during her Natural life and for One year 
after Death any House and the lot or lots on which it stands in the 
City of Washington then belonging to my estate which she may 
select and I direct my executors to pay all taxes General or special 
on the property described in his clause, and to keep it in good 
repair out of my General estate. 

"Fourth. I give and bequeath to her for and during her 
natural Ufe an annuity of Twelve Thousand dollars payable 
monthly or one thousand Dollars a month at the beginning of each 
month, and in addition I bequeath to her the sum of five thousand 
dollars payable Promptly at my Death and the further sum of 
Twenty Thousand dollars to be disposed of by her will or other gift 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 425 

after her death and to secure the prompt and certain payment of 
this annuity I charge it upon all my property or the proceeds of it, 
not required to meet the other provisions of this will, and I direct 
my executors within six months after my death to set aside as a 
special Fund enough income producing property to yield without 
reasonable doubt the said sum of Twelve Thousand Dollars a 
year free from all Taxes and repairs to be selected by her, one half 
or more of which shall be rentable real estate, and such property 
and the income thereof shall be held to secure the payment of said 
annuity and any deficiency shall be made good from my general 
estate, a descriptive inventory of the property so set aside shall be 
delivered to her, and no part of it shall be sold or disposed of with- 
out her written consent. 

" At her death the said property shall revert to my estate. This 
provision for my wife shall be in full for her dower, her year's 
allowance and any other allowance or provision provided by law 
for a widow, and I trust will be accepted by her as a just and ample 
one made with an earnest desire for her ease and comfort. 

"Article Second. I give, devise and bequeath to my adopted 
Daughter, Mary Stewart Sherman the sum of One Hundred Thou- 
sand dollars as follows : I hereby direct my Executors within six 
months after my death with the consent and approval of my 
Daughter to set aside dedicate and designate as Mary's separate 
property so much of my estate as is equal in Cash value to the said 
sum of One Hundred Thousand dollars, one half or more of which 
shall be productive real estate and the remainder in good income 
producing Stocks, Bonds and Mortgages and the said property shall 
be held by my wife as long as she lives, as trustee for Mary, with 
power to re-invest and change security; the income and rents of 
said property or so much thereof as is necessary for the support and 
maintenance of Mary shall be paid to her as needed. Upon the 
death of my wife the principal whether in real estate or securities 
shall be conveyed transferred and delivered to Mary or to her issue 
n full ownership. If Mary should die without issue before the 
Death of my wife this devise and bequest shall revert to my estate." 

Then follow legacies to brothers and sisters, amounting to 
$90,000. 

"I give and bequeath to Kate Willock the only child of my sister 
Julia Willock (deceased) the sum of $600.00 a year (in lieu of an 
annuity I am now paying her) payable quarterly until the death of 
my wife, and if she survives my wife I give her five thousand dol- 



426 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

lars. The several bequests made in the third article are made (the 
4th clause excepted) with the distinct condition that at the dis- 
cretion of my executors they may be paid any time within two years 
after my death and either of them in whole or in part in any real 
estate of which I die seized at its fair market value. 

"Article Four. I hereby constitute and appoint my wife 
CeceHa Stewart Sherman and my Nephew Henry Stoddart Sher- 
man as the Executors of this my will and testament. 

"I hereby will and direct that within two years after my Death 
my books and papers so far as needed shall be placed in the posses- 
sion of some competent person and he shall prepare and publish an 
impartial Biography of me with selections of my speeches and writ- 
ings and I appropriate for that purpose the sum of Ten Thousand 
dollars to be paid by my Executors as needed. This provision is 
made not to secure a eulogy for I am conscious of many faults, but 
I claim that in my duty to the public I have been honest, faithful 
and true. I hereby allow to Henry S. Sherman Two Thousand 
dollars a year commencing at the date of my death and continuing 
as long as he lives and my wife survives me, as full compensation 
for his services as executor and his acceptance of this trust shall be 
considered as his agreement to this rate of compensation. I trust 
my wife will take an active part as executrix for which I wish her 
paid liberally. 

"After the death of my wife when the special fund provided for 
her support lapses to my estate I hereby give and bequeath: 

"1st. To the President and Faculty of Kenyon College Ohio 
Five Thousand dollars. 2nd. To the president and Faculty of 
Oberlin College Ohio five Thousand dollars. 3rd. To the City of 
Mansfield, Ohio, Five Thousand dollars for the Improvement of the 
Sherman-Heineman Park each to be paid within one year after the 
Death of my wife. 



"Article Six. The rest and residue of my property and the 
accretion thereto after the death of my wife and the full execution 
of all the foregoing provisions of this will I hereby give, devise and 
bequeath in equal parts share and share alike to my Daughter 
Mary Stewart Sherman to Henry S. Sherman (son of my Brother 
Charles) to Hoyt Sherman (son of my Brother James) To Phile- 
mon Tecumseh Sherman (son of my Brother William T.) to Charles 
H. Sherman (son of my Brother Lampson) and to Charles M. Sher- 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 427 

man (son of my Brother Hoyt) to be divided if practicable among 
the Six by amicable partition. In case of the Death of either of 
said residuary Legatees before this bequest accrues then his or her 
Share is hereby granted to his or her heirs at Law. 

"Having made and declared this will after full consideration not 
in view of Death but of its ever constant possibility I appeal to my 
relatives to aid my Executors in a spirit of forbearance to carry it 
into full effect. I allow my Executors two years without interest to 
pay the legacies in article three of this will. 

"I hope to live long enough to execute many provisions of this 
will, when they Shall cease and terminate. Any person contesting 
this will shall receive no gift or devise or legacy under it and my 
Executors are authorized and enjoined not to pay any such nor 
shall such person receive any portion of my estate by inheritance. 

"John Shekman." 

There is a codicil to this will, dated the 15th day of January, 1900 ; 
in it two executors are named, one of those mentioned in the will 
having died : provision is made for the compensation of the execu- 
tors, and other matters of minor importance are set forth. 

Will op Myles Standish 

Captain Myles Standish, Longfellow's hero, died at Duxbury, 
Massachusetts, on Friday, October 3, 1656; his will was made 
March 7, 1656. 

" 1 my will is that out of my whole estate my funerall charges 
be taken out & my bod[y] to bee buried in Decent manor and if I 
Die att Duxburrow my body to bee layed as neare as Conveniently 
may bee to my two Daughters Lora Standish my daughter and 
Mary Standish my Daughterinlaw 

" 2 my will is that out of the remaining prte of my whole estate 
that all my Jus[t] and lawfull Debts which I now owe or att the 
Day of my Death may owe bee paied 

" 3 out of what remaines according to the order of this Gov - 
ment : my will is that my Dear and loveing wife Barbara Standish 
shall have the third prte 

"41 have given to my son Josias Standish upon his marriage 
one young horse five sheep and two heiffers which I must upon that 
contract of marriage make forty pounds yett not knowing whether 
the estate will bear it att p'sent; my will is that the resedue 
remaine in the whole stocke that every one of my four sons viz 



428 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Allexander Standish Myles Standish Josias Standish and Charles 
Standish may have forty pounds appeec ; if not that they may have 
proportionable to y^ remaining prte bee it more or lesse 

"5 my will is that my eldest son Allexander shall have a 
Doubble share in land 

"6 my will is that soe long as they live single that the whole bee 
in prtenership betwix[t] them 

"7 1 Doe ordaine and make my Dearly beloved wife Barbara 
Standish Allexander Standish Myles Standish and Josias Standish 
Joynt Exequitors of this my last will and Testament 

"8 1 Doe by this will make and appoint my loveing frinds 
M' Timothy hatherly and Capt : James Cudworth Supervissors of 
this my last will and that they wilbee pleased to Doe the office of 
Christian love to bee healpfuU to my poor wife and Children by 
theire Christian Counsell and advisse ... 

"By mee Myles Standish" 

Will of Jane Lathbof Stanford 

Jane Lathrop Stanford, late of San Francisco, California, to- 
gether with her husband, Leland Stanford, founded the Leland 
Stanford Junior University. By her will, which is dated the 28th 
day of July, 1903, she gives many pecuniary legacies to relatives, 
friends and charitable institutions. Item XXII of her will reads as 
follows : 

"All the rest, residue and remainder of my property and estate, 
of every kind and nature and wheresoever situated, not hereinbefore 
disposed of, I give, devise and bequeath to the Board of Trustees 
of the Leland Stanford Junior University as founded and endowed 
by my husband and myself by our joint grant of November eleventh, 
1885, ... to have and to hold to the said Trustees and to their 
successors forever as an integral part of the endowment of the said 
University, upon the trust that the principal thereof shall forever 
remain intact, and that the rents, issues and profits thereof shall be 
devoted to the maintenance of said University." 

The will concludes with a beautiful expression of her faith in God 
and of her behef in a future life, in these words : 

"I wish thus publicly to acknowledge my great gratitude to an 
allwise, loving Heavenly Father for His sustaining grace through 
the past ten years of bereavement, trial and disappointments. In 
all I have leaned hard on this Great Comforter and found rest and 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 429 

peace. I have no doubt about a future life beyond this ; a fair land 
where no more tears will be shed and no more partings had." 

Will of Alexander Stephens 

Alexander H. Stephens died March 4, 1883, His will is as fol- 
lows: 

" Georgia, Taliaferro County. 

"In the name of God, Amen : I, Alexander H. Stephens, of the 
State and County aforesaid, being of sound mind and disposing 
memory, do make and declare the following to be my last will and 
testament hereby revoking and annulling all other wills hereto- 
fore made by me, and codicils thereto : 

" Item First : It is my will and desire that my friend Quinea O. 
Neal shall have a home at 'Liberty Hall' and comfortable support 
out of my estate as long as he lives : 

"Item 2nd : Eliza Stephens widow of Harry Stephens is to have 
a home in the house she now occupies as long as she may feel dis- 
posed to, free from rent or charge : 

"Item 3rd : I will and bequeath to the children of my deceased 
Brother Linton Stephens the sum of Ten thousand dollars in money 
the same to be divided into six equal shares of Sixteen hundred and 
Sixty six dollars and sixty six cents each ; the share which would go 
to Rebecca Salter, daughter of my said Brother were she in life, I 
'bequeath to her two children to wit: John and Agnes Emiline 
Salter : the share which would go to EmiUne Stephens, daughter of 
my said Brother, I bequeath also to the said John and Agnes Salter, 
The other four shares I bequeath to Claude, Nora, Alexander and 
Rose Mary Stephens, children of my said Brother Linton, each 
separately and severally. 

"Item 4th. I hereby constitute my sister in law, Mary W. 
Stephens testamentary guardian of the property herein bequeathed 
to John and Agnes Emiline Salter and also of the property in like 
manner bequeathed to Nora, Alexander and Rose Mary Stephens. 
"Item 5th : The share given to my niece Claude Stephens, I wish 
to go in any way she may by written instructions, direct, by will or 
otherwise even if made before my death. 

"Item 6th : The portrait of my brother Linton, by Healy, I leave 
to sister Mary W. Stephens his widow, to dispose of as she sees 
proper ; and if she dies without disposing of it, then to the State 
Library at Atlanta. 



430 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

"Item 7th : The portrait by the same artist of my said Brothers 
first wife which I intended for Emma Stephens, her daughter, I 
wish if she shall so direct, to go to Agnes EmiHne Salter : 

"Item 8th : I wish sister Mary W. Stephens, widow of my said 
Brother Linton to have all his letters, which are in my possession 
except such as she may agree to let my Executor have : 

"Item 9th: If my Nephew Alexander Stephens son of my 
Brother Linton, lives to the age of Twenty one years, I wish him to 
have if he desires them, all the letters in my possession, which passed 
between his father and myself, which run through a period of nearly 
forty years. 

"Item 10th : According to a promise made to Micajah L. Jones, 
the house and lot which he occupied at the time of his death, and 
whereon his widow now lives, I bequeath to his said widow Mi- 
nervia Jones for and during her natural fife, and at her death to her 
children by the said Micajah L. Jones. And if her said children 
shall die without issue living at the r death then the remainder to 
go to my Nephew, Clarence Stephens. Provided further that if her 
son Carey Jones shall pay to my Executor the sum of two hundred 
dollars, then he is to have said lot after the death of his mother, and 
full titles to this effect shall be made to him the said Carey by my 
Executor : and my Executor shall pay over said sum of two hun- 
dred dollars to the said Clarence Stephens : 

"Item 11th: To my nephew Linton A. Stephens I bequeath 
my Baptist Church, Atlanta fair Gold headed cane, besides what I ' 
have given him : 

"Item 12th: To my Nephew Alexander Stephens, son of my 
Brother Linton, I give my Gold headed Oglethorpe County cane. 

"Item 13th : To my Niece Mary S. Carey, I give my marble top 
centre table, which belongs to my parlor : 

"Item 14th : To my faithful servant, Alexander Kent, I give the 
sum of two hundred dollars for his kind attention to me. 

"Item 15th: To Jane Moore, daughter of Harry Stephens, and 
Quinea and Fanny Stephens, I give the sum of Ten dollars each. 

"Item 16th: To Dora Stephens I give the gold watch which 
she now has in her possession. 

" Item 17th : To all the other of my old servants, I wish my Exe- 
cutor to give such articles of furniture or other things, as memen- 
tos he may see fit and proper : 

"Item 18th : My property I think upon a fair valuation is worth 
twelve thousand dollars. All this after payment of the foregoing 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 431 

specific legacies and charges, I give to my Nephew John 
A. Stephens, who is hereby constituted Executor of this will. 
All the remainder of my Estate, consisting of real and per- 
sonal property, and everything of value I may die possessed of, 
including my Library, Manuscripts, &c. I bequeath to him on 
condition that he shall pay all my debts : and the foregoing specific 
legacies. The payment of the legacies to the minor children of my 
Brother Linton, and Rebecca Salters two children, I wish to be 
in three annual installments if my Executor shall desire : the in- 
terest on all legacies to commence one year after my death at the 
rate of seven per cent per annum : In this way, the minor children 
will have plenty to pay their annual school bills: And my said 
Executor may be able, by sale if necessary, to raise the funds to 
meet his engagements without embarrassment: I will also add 
that I have never before given to my brother Lintons children 
anything but a few small presents; while I have given to my 
brother John and his children quite as much, perhaps, if not more 
than I now leave to Lintons children: And I with my brother 
Linton have also given to the children of our sister Catherine Grier 
several thousand dollars, the exact amount I do not now remember, 
nor is it material, but quite as much as I feel able to give them : 
The foregoing four pages penned by John A. Stephens, my Executor 
and written at my dictation, I have carefidly read, with the three 
interUneations on the third page and the erasure of the word in the 
second line from the bottom on same page; and pronounce the 
whole, as the 18 items now stand to be correct and as I wish and 
will it. 

"In witness whereof I have hereto set my hand and seal, this 
15th day of July, 1881. 

"Alexander H. Stephens." 



Will of Harriet Beecher Stowe 

Harriet Beecher Stowe died at Hartford, Connecticut, July 1, 
1896. Her will is as follows : 

"I, Harriet Beecher Stowe of Hartford Conn, being of sound and 
disposing mind and memory do make and ordain this my last will 
and testament. 

"1. I direct that all my just debts and funeral charges be first 
paid. 

"2. I give and devise to my son Charles the large silver ink- 



432 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

stand given me by the women of England, also the cabinet of sig- 
natures standing in the hall. I give to my daughter Harriet the 
large silver waiter given to me by the women of England, and to 
my daughter Eliza the silver cake basket given to me by the 
women of England, and I give to my daughter Georgiana the gold 
bracelet given to me by the Duchess of Sutherland. 

"3. I give all my pictures to my children to be divided among 
them by each choosing one beginning with the oldest and so in 
succession until they are all chosen. 

"4. All the rest and residue of my property I give and devise as 
follows : 

I give one third thereof to my son Charles, to him and his heirs 
for ever. 

The remaining two thirds I give to John C. Parsons of the City of 
Hartford, as Trustee for the following purposes. 
To safely invest and hold the same, and pay over half the income 
thereof quarterly to each of my two daughters Harriet and Eliza, 
so long as they both Uve, upon the death of either, said Trustee 
shall pay the whole of said income to the survivor so long as she 
shall live. If it shall become necessary, I authorize said trustee 
to expend from the principal such .sums as shall be needed for the 
support of my said two daughters, if for any reason the income 
thereof shall not be sufficient for their support, but not otherwise. 
Upon the death of both my said daughters said trust shall cease, 
and the principal then in the hands of said Trustee or his successor 
I give to my son Charles, or his descendants if he should then be 
deceased. I make no provision out of my estate for my daughter 
Georgiana at her special request alone. 

"5. I direct my executor to sell all my real estate as soon as 
practicable, and turn the same into personal property before the 
above division is made. 

"6. I revoke all former wills and testaments and appoint my 
son Charles E. Stowe as executor of this will, and direct that he be 
required to give only the smallest bond as executor which the law 
will admit. 

"In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal on 
this 3rd day of November a.d. 1885. 

"Haebiet Beechek Stowe." 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 433 

Will of Samuel J. Tilden 

Samuel J. Tilden died August 4, 1886. The failure of the trust 
created by his will has been extensively commented on by the lay 
and legal journals of the United States. 

By a decision of the New York Court of Appeals, in the case 
of Tilden v. Green, the trust provision was overthrown. The late 
Professor J. B. Ames remarked : "Melancholy the spectacle must 
always be when covetous relatives seek to convert to their own use 
the fortune which a testator has devoted to a great public bene- 
faction." 

The learned author then, without quoting the exact provisions 
of the will creating what is known as the "Tilden Trust," tran- 
scribes as substantially correct, the summary of the same made 
by a majority of the judges of the New York Court of Appeals in 
the case in which the will was overthrown: "I request you (the 
executors) to cause to be incorporated an institution to be called 
the 'Tilden Trust,' with capacity to maintain a free library and 
reading-room in the city of New York, and such other educational 
and scientific objects as you shall designate ; and if you deem it 
expedient — that is, if you think it advisable and the fit and proper 
thing to do — convey to that institution all or such part of my 
residuary estate as you choose; and if you do not think that 
course advisable, then apply it to such charitable, educational, 
and scientific purposes as, in your judgment, will most substantially 
benefit mankind." "The trustees," continues the learned com- 
mentator, "procured the incorporation of the 'Tilden Trust,' and 
elected to convey the entire residue to that institution. An ad- 
mirable will and willing trustees — and yet the bequest was not 
sustained. If the trustees had not elected to give the property 
to the 'Tilden Trust,' that institution would have had no claim, 
nor would there have been, under the law of New York, any means 
of compelling them to apply it to the alternative charitable pur- 
poses. Therefore, the Court of Appeals decided, the trustees 
could not dispose of the property in either of the two modes indi- 
cated in the will, and the entire residue, amounting to some 
$5,000,000, must be distributed among the heirs and next of kin." 

Will of Martin Van Buken 

Martin Van Buren, Governor of New York, United States 
Senator and eighth President of the United States, was born at 



434 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

Kinderhook, New York, on December 5, 1782, and died there on 
July 24, 1862. He attained eminence at the bar and as a pohtician 
was surpassed by few, if any, men of his day. 

His will deals largely with domestic affairs, yet it is a carefully 
conceived and well drawn document : 

"I, Martin Van Buren of the Town of Kinderhook, County of 
Columbia, and State of New York, heretofore Governor of the 
State, and more recently President of the United States, but for 
the last and happiest years of my life, a farmer in my native Town, 
do make & declare the following to be my last will & testament. 

"First. I direct my Executors hereinafter named, to pay with- 
out delay, my funeral expenses, & all outstanding bills. Debts, 
in the ordinary acceptation of that term I owe none, & hope to 
leave none. 

" Secondly. I direct that no account shall be taken of advances 
by me heretofore made to either of my sons, and' that they shall 
be considered as settled, with the exceptions of a bond I hold against 
my son Abraham for two thousand dollars, and also a note against 
my son John for four thousand eight hundred and fifteen dollars, 
which were agreed to be considered as business transactions 
strictly, the amount due on each at my death (the interest having 
been punctually paid to the present year) is to be charged to them 
respectively, and deducted from their share of my estate. The 
like charge and deduction shall be made in respect to any future 
payments by me or by my estate in cases where I have made myself 
liable as surety for either of my sons, but in which nothing has 
yet been paid by me. 

"Thirdly. In consideration of advances which I have made to 
my sons Abraham & John, whilst none have been made to my son 
Smith Thompson, I bequeath to the latter all my piersonal chattels 
and effects, excepting therefrom all the debts that may be due to 
me, and stocks that I may own at my death, and also my wine & 
stock on my farm. My miscellaneous library is intended to be 
included in this bequest, but not my law library, which I bequeath 
to my son John. 

"Fourthly. I give to my grandson Singleton Van Buren a gold 
snuff box, presented to me with the Freedom of the City, by the 
corporation of the City of New York and to my grandson Martin, 
son of Abraham, the marble bust made of me by Powers, which I 
had previously presented to his mother, & now transfer to the son by 
her direction. I give to my grandson Martin, Son of my son Smith 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 435 

Thompson, a silver pitcher presented to me, some years since by 
my old and always sincere friend Benjamin F. Butler. 

" Fifthly. I direct my executors to expend four hundred dollars, 
or so much thereof as may be necessary, in obtaining a copy of the 
bust of me by Powers, which copy I give to my grandson Edward 
Livingston Van Buren. 

" Sixthly. I direct my executors to lay out five hundred dollars 
for keep sakes for my grand son Travis Van Buren, and for my 
grand daughters Anna, Ellen, Catharine & Ehza Van Buren. 

"Seventhly. I request my executors to regard themselves as 
standing towards my best of sisters Dirike Van Buren, if she shall 
survive me, in the relation I occupied when hving, & to omit 
nothing in the way of pecuniary advances that may contribute 
to her comfort, out of my estate. 

"Eighthly. I direct my executors to pay to my niece Christina 
Cantine two hundred dollars & to each of my nieces Lucretia Van 
Buren & Jane Ann Van Buren the sum of one hundred dollars : 
and I give and devise to my nephew Martin Van Buren son of my 
brother Lawrence, & to his heirs and assigns forever, all my interest 
in a small dwelling with the lot on which it stands adjoining his 
father's house conveyed to me by the latter as security for money 
lent, but the latter devise is upon condition that his father relieves 
me or my estate from my remaining securityship to the State of 
New York. 

"Ninthly. I hereby appoint my three sons Abraham, John & 
Smith Thompson executors of my last & only will; and I do 
hereby authorize & empower them, or such of them as shall take 
upon themselves the execution thereof, and the survivors & sur- 
vivor of them, to fulfill by the execution of conveyances and other- 
wise, as may be proper, any contracts for the sale of lands, made 
by me, which shall be outstanding at the time of my death. 

"Lastly. I hereby give, devise & bequeath to my three sons 
Abraham, John & Smith Thompson all the remainder & residue 
of my personal estate not required for the purposes of my will 
under the provisions above made & all my real estate wheresoever 
situated, to be equally divided between them. To have & to hold 
their respective shares thereof to them, their heirs & assigns forever, 
subject to the following conditions & reservations, viz. ; first that 
out of the avails of the sale of Lindenwald there shall be reserved 
& paid over to my son Smith Thompson, his heirs or assigns the 
sum of seven thousand five hundred dollars in full satisfaction for 



436 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

his advances towards the expenses incurred by the additions to 
and improvements upon the dwelhng house & outbuildings with 
the expectation that the place would be devised to him upon terms 
that would be equitable in respect to his brothers, the payment 
to be without interest during my lifetime. Secondly that upon 
the sale of Lindenwald the preference shall be ofifered in succession 
to my sons, beginning for the reason above assigned & no other, 
with the youngest, if the son accepting the same is willing to pay 
therefor as much as the place can be sold for on the market. 

"The three pieces of plate last presented to me by my deceased 
friend Benjamin F. Butler, I bequeath to my three sons Abraham, 
John & Smith Thompson to be equally divided between them. 

" In Witness Whereof I have to this instrument set my hand & 
seal this eighteenth day of Janu'^ in the year of our Lord one thou- 
sand eight hundred and sixty. 

"M. Van Buren." (Seal.) 

"Subscribed, sealed, published and declared by the said testator 
Martin Van Buren to be his last will & testament in the presence 
of us the undersigned, who at his request & in his presence and in 
the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names 
as witnesses & affixed our respective places of residence this 18' 
of Jan'' 1860. 

"John M. Pkutn, M.D. of Kinderhook. 

" Lauea Collins of Albany. 

"ilf my faithful James remains with me until my death I wish 
my executors to make him a present of one hundred dollars. 

" M. Van Buben." 

Will of Matthew Vassak 

Matthew Vassar was an EngUshman by birth : he accumulated 
his wealth as a brewer at Poughkeepsie, New York: he died in 
1868, and was the founder of Vassar College : he gave to the Insti- 
tution 200 acres of land and $788,000 by gift and bequest, and 
further sums have been contributed by members of the Vassar 
family : the student attendance numbers about one thousand. 

By his will, he gives directions as to his burial, then gives to his 
nephews and other relatives certain real estate and personal prop- 
erty ; the residue he gives to Vassar College. 

He established a "Lecture Fund" "to defray the expenses of 
having lectures on Literature, and the Arts and Sciences, to be 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 437 

delivered at said college by distinguished persons, not officers 
therein." 

There is also an "Auxiliary Fund," estabUshed to assist students I 
of "superior mind and high scholarship." 

There is the "Library, Art and Cabinet Fund " "to keep in good 
repair and condition, the library, cabinets and art gallery"; a 
"Repair Fund" for "making repairs, alterations and improve- 
ments." On the repair fund there is a charge for the board and 
tuition of the daughters of a certain friend, for four years each, as 
well as not more than four of his own female blood relatives, living 
at the time of his decease, who might wish to attend the college. 
He also provided that any lapsed legacies should pass to the college. 

The testator left with his will a letter of advice to the trustees 
of the college. 

Mr. Remsen, in his excellent work on Wills, recommends the 
course pursued by Mr. Vassar in securing the incorporation of 
charitable institutions in advance of the death of the testator, 
and in making testamentary gifts to them for maintenance. He 
states that this is a favorite method, and was pursued by the 
founders of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Cooper Institute, Johns 
Hopkins University, Leland Stanford Junior University, and 
many other well-known institutions ; this plan giving the institu- 
tion the benefit, in its early stages, of the guiding hand of its 
founder. 

Will of Geobge G. Vest 

George G. Vest was one of Missouri's most distinguished sena- 
tors, a lawyer of great ability, and an orator of national fame. 
He died August 9, 1904. 

By his will, which is dated March 25, 1903, he gave to his 
wife the sum of Five Thousand Dollars, also his residence and 
the sum of Two Thousand Dollars a year for her life ; then appears 
this provision : "The acceptance by my wife of the provisions for 
her benefit contained in this will shall bar all claims by her of 
dower in any real estate heretofore or hereafter conveyed by me 
to any one"; this provision has occasioned much comment in. 
view of the fact that it does not accomplish the purpose intended, 
as it does not preclude dower in realty owned at the time of his 
death. A few personal effects were given to friends, among- 
them a cane "on which is a silver snake," to Adolphus Busch of 
St. Louis. 



438 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

The giving of canes and walking-sticks by distinguished men has 
always been a marked feature in wills. 

The balance of the estate was to be equally divided among three 
children, the portions for the sons in trust, and that for the daughter 
absolutely, less an advancement. 

Senator Vest had few equals as a brilliant orator; perhaps no 
speech ever made by him at the bar or in the Senate will be longer 
remembered than the one given below. It was an address to a 
jury, delivered at Warrensburg, Missouri, about the year 1870. 
Senator Vest was then about forty years of age. A farmer had sued 
a neighbor for killing his dog, an ordinary fox hound, and Senator 
Vest was asked to assist the plaintiff. He made a brief address, 
and the jury gave a verdict for the full amount claimed. The 
case finally reached the Supreme Court of Missouri, and the finding 
of the lower court was upheld : 

" Gentlemen of the Jury : — 

"The best friend a man has in this world, may turn against him 
and become his enemy. 

"His son or daughter that he has reared with loving care may 
prove ungrateful. Those who are nearest and dearest to us, those 
whom we trust with our happiness and our good name, may be- 
come traitors to their faith. 

"The money that a man has, he may lose. It flies away from 
him, perhaps when he needs it most. 

"A man's reputation may be sacrificed in a moment of ill- 
considered action. The people who are prone to fall on their 
knees to do us honor, when success is with us, may be the first 
to throw the stone of malice, when failure settles its cloud upon our 
heads. 

"The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in 
this selfish world, — the one that never deserts him, — the one that 
never proves ungrateful or treacherous is the dog. 

" Gentlemen of the jury, a man's dog stands by[him in prosperity 
and in poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the 
cold ground, where the wintry winds blow and the snow drives 
fiercely, if only he may be near his master's side. He will kiss the 
hand that has no food to offer, and he will lick the wounds and 
sores that come in encounter with the roughness of the world. 

"He guards the sleep of his pauper master, as if he were a prince. 
"Whenever all other friends desert, he remains. 

"When riches take wings, and reputation falls to pieces, he is 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 439 

as constant, in his love, as the sun in its journey through the 
heavens. 

"If fortune drives the master forth, an outcast, in the world, 
friendless and homeless, the faithful dog asks no higher privilege 
than that of accompanying him to guard against danger, to fight 
against his enemies, and, when the last scene of all comes, and 
death takes the master in its embrace, and his body is laid away 
in the cold ground, no matter if all other friends pursue their way, 
there by the grave side will be found the noble dog, his head 
between his paws, his eyes sad, but open in alert watchfulness, 
faithful and true even in death. " 

Will of George Washington 

George Washington died December 14, 1799. His original will 
is on file somewhere in Virginia. A copy thereof is on file in the 
Office of the Register of Wills at Washington, D.C., having been 
recorded there on November 15, 1802 : the instrument is volumi- 
nous, but by reason of its interesting nature and the greatness and 
fame of the testator, the document is here given in full, omitting 
only a few inconsequential details : 

"In the Name of God, Amen 

"I, George Washington, of Mount Vernon, a Citizen of the 
United States, and lately President of the same. Do make, ordain, 
and declare this Instrument which is written with my own Hand, 
and every page thereof subscribed with my Name, to be my last 
Will and Testament, revoking all others. Imprimis. 

"All my debts, of which there are but few, and none of magni- 
tude, are to be punctually and speedily paid, and the Legacies 
herein after bequeathed, are to be discharged as soon as circum- 
stances will permit, and in the maimer directed. 

"Item. To my dearly beloved wife Martha Washington, I 
give and bequeath the use, profit, and benefit of my whole estate, 
real and personal, for the term of her natural life, except such parts 
thereof as are specially disposed of hereafter. — My improved Lot 
in the town of Alexandria, situated on Pitt and Cameron Streets, 
I give to her and her heirs for ever ; as I also do my Houshold 
and Kitchen Furniture of every sort and kind with the Liquors and 
Groceries which may be on hand at the time of my decease, to be 
used and disposed of as she may think proper. 



440 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

"Item. Upon the decease of my wife, it is my will and desire 
that all the Slaves which I hold in my own right shall receive their 
freedom. To emancipate them during her life, would, though 
earnestly wished by me, be attended with such insuferable diffi- 
culties on account of their intermixture by marriages with the dower 
Negroes, as to excite the most painful sensations, if not disagree- 
able consequences from the latter while both descriptions are in 
the occupancy of the same proprietor ; it not being in my power, 
under the tenure by which the dower Negroes are held, to manumit 
them. And Whereas, among those who will receive freedom ac- 
cording to this devise, there may be some who from old age or 
bodily infirmities, and others who, on account of their infancy, 
that will be unable to support themselves, it is my will and desire 
that all who come under the first and second description, shall be 
comfortably clothed and fed by my heir§ while they live ; and that 
such of the latter description as have no parents living, or, if living, 
are unable or unwilling to provide for them, shall be bound by the 
court until they shall arrive at the age of twenty five years ; and 
in cases where no record can be produced, whereby their ages can 
be ascertained, the judgment of the court upon its own view of the 
subject, shall be adequate and final. The Negroes thus bound, 
are (by their masters or mistresses) to be taught to read & write 
& to be bro't up to some useful occupation, agreeably to the laws 
of the commonwealth of Virginia, providing for the support of 
orphan and other poor children. — And I do hereby expressly 
forbid the sale or transportation out of the said commonwealth of 
any Slave I may die possessed of under any pretence whatsoever. 
And I do moreover, most pointedly and most solemnly enjoin it 
upon my Executors hereafter named or the survivor of them to see 
that this clause respecting Slaves and every part thereof, be re- 
ligiously fulfilled at the epoch at which it is directed to take place, 
without evasion, neglect, or delay, after the crops which may then 
be on the ground are harvested, particularly as it respects the aged 
and infirm ; seeing that a regular and permanent fund be estab- 
lished for their support so long as there are subjects requiring it ; 
not trusting to the uncertain provision to be made by individuals ; 
— And to my mulatto man William (calling himself William Lee) I 
give immediate freedom, or if he should prefer it (on account of 
the accidents which have befallen him and which have rendered 
him incapable of walking or of any active employment) to remain 
in the situation he now is, it shall be optional in him to do so. 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 441 

in either case however, I allow him an annuity of Thirty Dollars 
during his natural life, which shall be independent of the victuals 
and cloaths he has been accustomed to receive if he chuses the last 
alternative ; but in full with his freedom, if he prefers the first ; 
and this I give him as a testimony of my sense of his attachment 
to me, and for his faithful services during the Revolutionary War. 

"Item. To the Trustees (Governors, or by whatsoever other 
name they may be designated) of the Academy, in the Town of 
Alexandria, I give and bequeath, in trust. Four Thousand Dollars, 
or, in other words, twenty of the Shares which I hold in the Bank 
of Alexandria, towards the support of a Free School, established at, 
and annexed to, the said Academy, for the purpose of educating 
such Orphan Children, or the Children of such other poor and 
indigent persons as are unable to ' accomplish it with their own 
means; and who, in the judgment of the Trustees of the said 
Seminary, are best entitled to the benefit of this donation. 

"Item. Whereas by a law of the commonwealth of Virginia, 
enacted in the year 1785, the legislature thereof was pleased (as an 
evidence of its approbation of the services I had rendered the public 
during the Revolution, and partly I believe, in consideration of 
my having suggested the vast advantages which the community 
would derive from the extension of its inland navigation under 
legislative patronage) to present me with one hundred Shares of 
one hundred Dollars each, in the incorporated company estab- 
lished for the purpose of extending the navigation of James River 
from tide water to the mountains ; — and also with Fifty Shares of 
one hundred Poimds Sterling each, in the corporation of another 
company likewise established for the similar purpose of opening 
the navigation of the river Potomac from tide water to Fort 
Cumberland; the acceptance of which, although the offer was 
highly honourable and grateful to my feelings, was refused as in- 
consistent with a principle which I had adopted, and had never 
departed from — Namely — not to receive pecuniary compensa- 
tion for any services I could render my country in its ardious 
struggle with Great Britain for its rights ; and because I had evaded 
similar propositions from other States in the Union. Adding to 
this refusal, however, an intimation that, if it should be the 
pleasure of the legislature to permit me to appropriate the said 
Shares to public uses, I would receive them on those terms with 
due sensibility ; and this it having consented to, in flattering terms, 
as will appear by a subsequent law and sundry resolutions, in the 



442 ANCIENT, CUKIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

most ample and honourable manner, I proceed after this recital 
for the more correct understanding of the case, to declare — That 
as it has always been a source of serious regret with me to see the 
Youth of these United States sent to Foreign countries for the 
purpose of Education, often before their minds were formed, or 
they had imbibed any adequate ideas of the happiness of their own ; 
contracting too frequently, not only habits of dissipation and 
extravagance, but principles unfriendly to Republican govern- 
ment, and to the true and genuine liberties of mankind; which, 
thereafter are rarely overcome. — For these reasons, it has been 
my ardent wish to see a plan devised on a liberal scale which would 
have a tendency to spread systematic ideas through all parts of 
this rising empire, thereby to do away local attachments and state 
prejudices, as far as the nature of things would, or indeed ought 
to admit, from our National Councils. — Looking anxiously for- 
ward to the accomplishment of so desirable an object as this is 
(in my estimation) my mind has not been able to contemplate any 
plan more likely to effect the measure than the establishment of 
a University in a central part of the United States, to which the 
Youths of fortune and talents from all parts thereof might be sent 
for the completion of their Education in all the branches of polite 
literature; in arts and sciences, in acquiring knowledge in the 
principles of politics and good government, and (as a matter of 
infinite importance in my judgment) by associating with each 
other and forming friendships in Juvenile years, be enabled to 
free themselves in a proper degree from those local prejudices and 
habitual jealousies which have just been mentioned; and which, 
when carried to excess, are never failing sources of disquietude to 
the public mind, and pregnant of mischevious consequences to this 
country ; under these impressions, so fully dilated. 

"Item. I give and bequeath in perpetuity the Fifty Shares which 
I hold in the Potomac Company (under the aforesaid acts of the 
legislature of Virginia) towards the endowment of a Univehsitt 
to be established within the limits of the District of Columbia, 
under the auspices of the general government, if that government 
should incline to extend a fostering hand towards it. 

"Item. The hundred Shares which I hold in the James River 
Company, I have given, and now confirm in perpetuity, to and 
for the use and benefit of Liberty Hall Academy, in the county of 
Rockbridge, in the Commonwealth of Virginia. 

"Item. I release, exonerate and discharge the estate of my 



ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 443 

deceased Brother, Samuel Washington, from the payment of the 
money which is due to me for the land I sold to Philip Pendleton 
(lying in the county of Berkeley) who assigned the same to him, 
the said Samuel, who, by agreement, was to pay me therefor: 
And Whereas, by some contract (the purport of which was never 
communicated to me) between the said Samuel and his Son, 
Thornton Washington, the latter became possessed of the afore- 
said land, without any conveyance having passed from me, either 
to the said Pendleton, the said Samuel, or the said Thornton, and 
without any consideration having been made, by which neglect 
neither the legal nor equitable title has been alienated; it rests 
therefore with me to declare my intentions concerning the premises ; 
and these are to give and bequeath the said land to whomsoever 
the said Thornton Washington (who is also dead) devised the 
same, or to his heirs forever, if he died intestate; exonerating the 
estate of the said Thornton, equally with that of the said Samuel, 
from payment of the purchase money, which, with interest, 
agreeably to the original' contract with the said Pendleton, would 
amount to more than a thousand pounds ; And Whereas two other 
Sons of my deceased Brother, Samuel, namely, George Steptoe 
Washington, and Lawrence Augustine Washington, were by the 
decease of those, to whose care they were committed, brought under 
my protection, and in consequence have occasioned advances on 
my part for their education at College and other schools, for their 
board, clothing, and other incidental expenses, to the amount of 
near five thousand dollars over and above the sums fiu-nished by 
their estate, which sum it may be inconvenient for them or their 
father's estate to refund — I do, for these reasons, acquit them 
and the said estate from the payment thereof — my intention 
being that all accounts between them and me, and their father's 
estate and me, shall stand balanced. 

"Item. To my Nephew, Bushrod Washington, I give and be- 
queath all the Papers in my possession, which relate to my civil 
and military administration of the affairs of this country — I leave 
to him also, such of my private Papers as are worth preserving; 
and at the decease of my Wife, and before, if she is not inclined 
to retain them, I give and bequeath my Library of Books and 
Pamphlets of every kind. 

" Item. To the Earl of Beuban I reconunit ' the Box made of 
the Oak that sheltered the great Sir William Wallace after the 
Battle of Falkirk' — presented to me by his Lordship, in terms 



444 ANCIENT, CURIOUS, AND FAMOUS WILLS 

too flattering for me to repeat, with a request *to pass it, oa the 
event of my decease, to the man in my country, who should appear 
to merit it best, upon the same conditions that have induced him 
to send it to me.' Whether easy or not, to select the Man who 
might comport with his Lordship's opinion in this respect, is not 
for me to say ; but conceiving that no disposition of this valuable 
curiosity can be more eligible than the recommitment of it to his 
own cabinet, agreeably to the original